Qualifying threshold of “take-off” stage for successfully disseminated creative ideas
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The creative process is essentially Darwinian and only a small proportion of creative ideas are selected for further development. However, the threshold that identifies this small fraction of successfully disseminated creative ideas at their early stage has not been thoroughly analyzed through the lens of Rogers’s innovation diffusion theory. Here, we take highly cited (top 1%) research papers as an example of the most successfully disseminated creative ideas and explore the time it takes and citations it receives at their “take-off” stage, which play a crucial role in the dissemination of creativity. Results show the majority of highly cited papers will reach 10% and 25% of their total citations within 2 years and 4 years, respectively. Interestingly, our results also present a minimal number of articles that attract their first citation before publication. As for the discipline, number of references, and Price index, we find a significant difference exists: Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health and Life Sciences are the first two disciplines to reach the C10% and C25% in a shorter amount of time. Highly cited papers with limited references usually take more time to reach 10% and 25% of their total citations. In addition, highly cited papers will attract citations rapidly when they cite more recent references. These results provide insights into the timespan and citations for a research paper to become highly cited at the “take-off” stage in its diffusion process, as well as the factors that may influence it.
KeywordsInnovation diffusion Citation analysis Creativity Highly cited paper
This contribution is based upon work supported by The National Social Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 14BTQ030. We acknowledge the support of the Chinese Scholarship Council. We are grateful to Yi Bu for providing the dataset and Weiwei Gu, as well as the anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
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