Prediction of highly cited papers
Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Received: 4 November 2013
Accepted: 10 January 2014
In an article in the pages of this journal five years ago, we described a method for predicting which scientific papers will be highly cited in the future, even if they are currently not highly cited. Applying the method to real citation data we made predictions about papers we believed would end up being well cited. Here we revisit those predictions, five years on, to see how well we did. Among the over 2000 papers in our original data set, we examine the fifty that, by the measures of our previous study, were predicted to do best and we find that they have indeed received substantially more citations in the intervening years than other papers, even after controlling for the number of prior citations. On average these top fifty papers have received 23 times as many citations in the last five years as the average paper in the data set as a whole, and 15 times as many as the average paper in a randomly drawn control group that started out with the same number of citations. Applying our prediction technique to current data, we also make new predictions of papers that we believe will be well cited in the next few years.
PACS: 89.75.Hc – Networks and genealogical trees / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 01.75.+m – Science and society
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