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Dormitory of Physical and Engineering Sciences: Sleeping Beauties May Be Sleeping Innovations.


ABSTRACT: A 'Sleeping Beauty in Science' is a publication that goes unnoticed ('sleeps') for a long time and then, almost suddenly, attracts a lot of attention ('is awakened by a prince'). The aim of this paper is to present a general methodology to investigate (1) important properties of Sleeping Beauties such as the time-dependent distribution, author characteristics, journals and fields, and (2) the cognitive environment of Sleeping Beauties. We are particularly interested to find out to what extent Sleeping Beauties are application-oriented and thus are potential Sleeping Innovations. In this study we focus primarily on physics (including materials science and astrophysics) and present first results for chemistry and for engineering & computer science. We find that more than half of the SBs are application-oriented. To study the cognitive environments of Sleeping Beauties we develop a new approach in which the cognitive environment of the SBs is analyzed, based on the mapping of Sleeping Beauties using their citation links and conceptual relations, particularly co-citation mapping. In this way we investigate the research themes in which the SBs are 'used' and possible causes of why the premature work in the SBs becomes topical, i.e., the trigger of the awakening of the SBs. This approach is tested with a blue skies SB and an application-oriented SB. We think that the mapping procedures discussed in this paper are not only important for bibliometric analyses. They also provide researchers with useful, interactive tools to discover both relevant older work as well as new developments, for instance in themes related to Sleeping Beauties that are also Sleeping Innovations.

SUBMITTER: van Raan AF 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4607160 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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