How is a Revolutionary Scientific Paper Cited?: The Case of Hess’ ‘History of Ocean Basins’

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I examine the citation patterns to a revolutionary scientific paper, Hess’ “History of
Ocean Basins”, which played a significant role in the plate tectonics revolution in the
geosciences. I test two predictions made by the geoscientist Henry Menard (1971): (i)
that the peak year of citations for Hess’ article will be 1968; and (ii) that the rate of
citations to the article will then reach some lower level, continuing on accumulating
citations at some regular but unimpressive rate. Drawing on data covering the period
from 1962 to 2019, I show that Menard was close with respect to the first prediction.
But I also show that things are less clear with respect to the second prediction. I
explain why the data are less clear with respect to the second prediction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientometrics
ISSN0138-9130
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2020

    Research areas

  • citations, revolutionary discoveries, Menard, publications, geosciences, plate tectonics, Harry Hess

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