How Atypical Combinations of Scientific Ideas Are Related to Impact: The General Case and the Case of the Field of Geography

Satyam Mukherjee, Brian Uzzi*, Benjamin F Jones, Michael Stringer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Novelty is an essential feature of creative ideas, yet the building blocks of new ideas are often embodied in existing knowledge. From this perspective, balancing atypical knowledge with conventional knowledge may be critical to the link between innovativeness and impact. The authors’ analysis of 17.9 million papers spanning all scientific fields suggests that science follows a nearly universal pattern: The highest-impact science is primarily grounded in exceptionally conventional combinations of prior work, yet simultaneously features an intrusion of unusual combinations. Papers of this type were twice as likely to be highly cited works. Novel combinations of prior work are rare, yet teams are 37.7 % more likely than solo authors to insert novel combinations into familiar knowledge domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Space
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages243-267
Number of pages25
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameKnowledge and Space
Volume11
ISSN (Print)1877-9220
ISSN (Electronic)2543-0580

Keywords

  • Atypical knowledge
  • Citation analysis
  • Conventional knowledge
  • Impact
  • Innovativeness
  • Teamwork
  • Unusual combinations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How Atypical Combinations of Scientific Ideas Are Related to Impact: The General Case and the Case of the Field of Geography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this