, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 407–427

A forward diversity index


    • School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of Technology
  • Alan L. Porter
    • Technology Policy and Assessment CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
    • Search Technology Inc.

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-011-0528-1

Cite this article as:
Carley, S. & Porter, A.L. Scientometrics (2012) 90: 407. doi:10.1007/s11192-011-0528-1


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.


Knowledge diffusionIntegration scoreDiffusion scoreCitation patternsSelf-citationsSubject category behavior

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011