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What Determines Scientific Impact? Comparison of Two Citation-based Approaches

Student: Alina Arslanova

Supervisor: Valentina Kuskova

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Sociology (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

Scientific impact is the basis of academic capital, so its determinants are constantly in the focus of scientific attention. Unfortunately, a major part of the research that has been published to date has some important limitations. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify factors that affect the impact generated as a result of a single research publication. Using the theoretical optics of the sociology of science as a conceptual framework, we explore the effect of a range of manuscript, author and journal related attributes on scientific impact as measured by two indicators alternative to citation count. The first indicator of impact is equivalent to the number of citations, that is, it describes the “visible” way of diffusion of scientific ideas, or the so-called “direct” impact of a paper on the documents that cite it. The second indicator, in addition, reflects the “hidden” path of dissemination of scientific knowledge, or “indirect” impact and is expressed in the number of explicit and implicit citations (by the term “implicit” we imply the use of ideas without a direct reference to its author, but with the possibility of identifying the original source through a chain of citations). The analysis is based on the sample of 2,728 research articles from 18 management journals published between 1960 and 2004. The results indicate that the originality of an idea, quality of reporting, gender of the first author, prestige of his/her affiliation and prestige of a journal have significant effects on the direct impact of an article, and on the full, taking into account the indirect impact. However, while a research that aims at extending the boundaries of existing paradigms increases the impact of the paper on the given field, such works seemed to be less interesting to scientists and thus were less frequently cited, making correspondingly less direct impact. In addition, our results contain an interesting paradox: women, receiving fewer citations than men, at the same time have a greater impact on the development of the field.

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