In Search of Outstanding Research Advances: Prototyping the creation of an open dataset of "editorial highlights"

11/16/2020
by   Alexis-Michel Mugabushaka, et al.
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A long-standing research question in bibliometrics is how one identifies publications, which represent major advances in their fields, making high impact in there and other areas. In this context, the term "Breakthrough" is often used and commonly used approaches rely on citation links between publications implicitly positing that peers who use or build upon previously published results collectively inform about their standing in terms of advancing the research frontiers. Here we argue that the "Breakthrough" concept is rooted in the Kuhnian model of scientific revolution which has been both conceptually and empirically challenged. A more fruitful approach is to consider various ways in which authoritative actors in scholarly communication system signal the importance of research results. We bring to discussions different "recognition channels" and pilot the creation of an open dataset of editorial highlights from regular lists of notable research advances. The dataset covers the last ten years and includes: the "discoveries of the year" from Science magazine and La Recherche and weekly editorial highlights from Nature ("research highlights") and Science ("editor's choice"). The final dataset includes 230 entries in the "discoveries of the years" (with over 720 references) and about 9,000 weekly highlights (with over 8,000 references).

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