Patent citations to scientific papers as early signs for predicting delayed recognition of scientific discoveries: a comparative study with instant recognition

by   Jian Du, et al.

In this study, we investigate the extent to that patent citations to papers can serve as early signs for predicting delayed recognition using a comparative study with a control group, i.e., instant recognition papers. We identify the two opposite groups of papers by the Bcp measure, a parameter-free index for identifying papers which were recognized with delay (also called "sleeping beauties" in science). Combined with a typical case study, it appears that papers with delayed recognition show a stronger and longer technical impact than instant recognition papers. We provide indication that in the more recent years papers with delayed recognition are awakened more often and more earlier by a patent rather than by a scientific paper (also called "prince"). We also found that patent citations seem to play an important role to avoid instant recognition papers to level off or to become a so called "flash in the pan". It also appears that the sleeping beauties may firstly encounter negative citations and then patent citations and finally get widely recognized. In contrast to the two focus fields (biology and chemistry) for instant recognition papers, delayed recognition papers are rather evenly distributed in biology, chemistry, psychology, geology, materials science, and physics. We discovered several pairs of "science sleeping"-"technology inducing", such as biology-biotechnology/pharmaceuticals, chemistry-chemical engineering, psychology-computer/control technology, and physics-computer technology. We propose in further research to discover the potential ahead of time and transformative research by using citation delay analysis, patent NPL analysis, and citation context analysis.


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