, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 385–415 | Cite as

Citation choice and innovation in science studies

  • Kyle Siler


What are the factors which render an article more likely to be cited? Using social network analysis of citations between published scholarly works, the nascent field around Social Studies of Science is examined from its incipience in 1971 until 2008. To gauge intellectual positioning, closeness centrality and orthodoxy rates are derived from bibliographic networks. Bibliographic orthodoxy is defined as the propensity of an article to cite other highly popular works. Orthodoxy and closeness centrality have differing effects on citation rates, varying across historical periods of development in the field. Effects were modest, but significant. In early time periods, articles with higher orthodoxy rates were cited more, but this effect dissipated over time. In contrast, citations associated with closeness centrality increased over time. Early SSS citation networks were smaller, less structurally cohesive and less modular than later networks. In contrast, later networks were larger, more structurally cohesive, more modular and less dense. These changes to the global SSS knowledge networks are linked to changes in the scientific reward structure ensconced in the network, particularly regarding orthodoxy and closeness centrality.


Knowledge Citations Networks Intellectual history 



The author acknowledges helpful feedback on previous drafts of this article from Matthew Brashears, Stephen Hilgartner, Neil McLaughlin, Tony Puddephatt, David Strang, Sarah Soule and Pamela Tolbert. Further, the author is especially grateful to Katherine McCain for introducing him to citation analysis. This research was supported in part by a seed grant from the Cornell University Center for the Study of Economy and Society.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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