Measuring long-term impact based on network centrality: Unraveling cinematic citations

Andreas Spitz*, Emoke Ágnes Horvát

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Traditional measures of success for film, such as box-office revenue and critical acclaim, lack the ability to quantify longlasting impact and depend on factors that are largely external to the craft itself. With the growing number of films that are being created and large-scale data becoming available through crowd-sourced online platforms, an endogenous measure of success that is not reliant on manual appraisal is of increasing importance. In this article we propose such a ranking method based on a combination of centrality indices. We apply the method to a network that contains several types of citations between more than 40,000 international feature films. From this network we derive a list of milestone films, which can be considered to constitute the foundations of cinema. In a comparison to various existing lists of 'greatest' films, such as personal favourite lists, voting lists, lists of individual experts, and lists deduced from expert polls, the selection of milestone films is more diverse in terms of genres, actors, and main creators. Our results shed light on the potential of a systematic quantitative investigation based on cinematic influences in identifying the most inspiring creations in world cinema. In a broader perspective, we introduce a novel research question to large-scale citation analysis, one of the most intriguing topics that have been at the forefront of scientific enquiries for the past fifty years and have led to the development of various network analytic methods. In doing so, we transfer widely studied approaches from citation analysis to the the newly emerging field of quantification efforts in the arts. The specific contribution of this paper consists in modelling the multidimensional cinematic references as a growing multiplex network and in developing a methodology for the identification of central films in this network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere108857
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 8 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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