Quantifying the topic disparity of scientific articles


Citation count is a popular index for assessing scientific papers. However, it depends on not only the quality of a paper but also various factors, such as conventionality, journal, team size, career age, and gender. Here, we examine the extent to which the conventionality of a paper is related to its citation count by using our measure, topic disparity. The topic disparity is the cosine distance between a paper and its discipline on a neural embedding space. Using this measure, we show that the topic disparity is negatively associated with citation count, even after controlling journal impact, team size, and the career age and gender of the first and last authors. This result indicates that less conventional research tends to receive fewer citations than conventional research. The topic disparity can be used to complement citation count and to recommend papers at the periphery of a discipline because of their less conventional topics.

Companion Proceedings of the Web Conference 2022 (WWW ’22 Companion)

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