NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Reinhilde Veugelers

KU Leuven
MSI & ECOOM
Naamsestraat 69
3000 Leuven
BELGIUM
and Bruegel and CEPR

E-Mail: reinhilde.veugelers@econ.kuleuven.be

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2016Bias against Novelty in Science: A Cautionary Tale for Users of Bibliometric Indicators
with Jian Wang, Paula Stephan: w22180
Research which explores unchartered waters has a high potential for major impact but also carries a higher uncertainty of having impact. Such explorative research is often described as taking a novel approach. This study examines the complex relationship between pursuing a novel approach and impact. Viewing scientific research as a combinatorial process, we measure novelty in science by examining whether a published paper makes first time ever combinations of referenced journals, taking into account the difficulty of making such combinations. We apply this newly developed measure of novelty to all Web of Science research articles published in 2001 across all scientific disciplines. We find that highly novel papers, defined to be those that make more (distant) new combinations, deliver...
 
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