, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 407-427
Date: 30 Sep 2011

A forward diversity index

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Abstract

We introduce an indicator to measure the diffusion of scientific research. Consistent with Stirling’s 3-factor diversity model, the diffusion score captures not only variety and balance, but also disparity among citing article cohorts. We apply it to benchmark article samples from six 1995 Web of Science subject categories (SCs) to trace trends in knowledge diffusion over time since publication. Findings indicate that, for most SCs, diffusion scores steadily increase with time. Mathematics is an outlier. We employ a typology of citation trends among benchmark SCs and correlate this with diffusion scores. We also find that self-cites do not, in most cases, significantly influence diffusion scores.