Paper with delayed recognition

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A paper with delayed recognition (or a "sleeping beauty") is a publication that received very little attention (and got few citations) shortly after publication, but later got much attention and many citations. For example, an 1884 article by Charles Sanders Peirce[1] was rarely cited until about the year 2000, but has since garnered many citations.[2]

The phenomenon has been studied in bibliometrics and scientometrics.[3][4][5][6]

A 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded, after looking at over 22 million scientific papers of the prior 100 years, that "sleeping beauties are common", and seen even in the works of the most famous scientists. In particular, that a paper on an aspect of quantum mechanics that was published in 1935 by Einstein, among other luminaries, did not receive widespread attention until 1994.[7][8] In the top 15 such papers in science, identified in the study, the delay for recognition was often 50 to 100 years.[9]


  1. ^ Peirce, C. S. (1884). "The numerical measure of the success of predictions". Science. 4 (93): 453. doi:10.1126/science.ns-4.93.453-a.
  2. ^ Van Calster, Ben (2012). "It takes time: A remarkable example of delayed recognition". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 63 (11): 2341. doi:10.1002/asi.22732.
  3. ^ Costas, Rodrigo; Van Leeuwen, Thed N.; Van Raan, Anthony F.J. (2010). "Is scientific literature subject to a 'Sell-By-Date'? A general methodology to analyze the 'durability' of scientific documents". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 61 (2): 329. arXiv:0907.1455. doi:10.1002/asi.21244.
  4. ^ Garfield, E. (1980). "Premature discovery or delayed recognition-Why?". Essays of an Information Scientist (PDF). Vol. 4. pp. 488–493. ISBN 0-89495-012-6.
  5. ^ Glänzel, Wolfgang; Schlemmer, Balázs; Thijs, Bart (2003). "Better late than never? On the chance to become highly cited only beyond the standard bibliometric time horizon". Scientometrics. 58 (3): 571. doi:10.1023/B:SCIE.0000006881.30700.ea.
  6. ^ Van Raan, Anthony F. J. (2004). "Sleeping Beauties in science". Scientometrics. 59 (3): 467. doi:10.1023/B:SCIE.0000018543.82441.f1.
  7. ^ Bhanoo, Sindya N. (May 26, 2015). "Even Einstein Can Take Time to matter". Science Times. The New York Times. p. d4.
  8. ^ Qing Ke, Emilio Ferrara, Filippo Radicchi, and Alessandro Flammini (2015). "Defining and identifying Sleeping Beauties in science". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112 (24): 7426–7431. arXiv:1505.06454. Bibcode:2015PNAS..112.7426K. doi:10.1073/pnas.1424329112. PMC 4475978. PMID 26015563.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Defining and identifying Sleeping Beauties in science Table 1.