The impact of a paper’s new combinations and new components on its citation

  • Yan Yan
  • Shanwu Tian
  • Jingjing ZhangEmail author


A paper’s novelty enhances its impact and citation. In this paper, we examine two dimensions of a paper’s novelty: new combinations and new components. We define new combinations as new pairs of knowledge elements in a related research area, and new components as new knowledge elements that have never appeared in a related research area previously. The importance of both dimensions is stressed, and we analyze the mechanisms that affect the frequency of a paper’s citation; we believe that a paper’s new combinations and new components both have an inverted U-shaped effect on its citation count. Utilizing a text-mining approach, we develop a novel method for constructing new combinations and new components using a paper’s keywords. Using keywords from papers published in the wind energy field between 2002 and 2015 as our sample, we conduct an empirical analysis on the above-mentioned relationships. To do so, we use the negative binomial regression method and several robustness tests. The results provide support for our hypotheses that propose a paper’s new combinations and new components significantly affect its impact. Specifically, new combinations and new components lead to more citation counts up to a specific threshold. When the number of new combinations and new components exceed the threshold, the paper is likely to be cited less frequently. Finally, we discuss the theoretical contributions, methodological contributions, and practical implications of these findings.


Novelty New combinations New components Citation 



This study is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71904191), and by University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. Y95402JXX2). This study is supported by the joint PhD programme scholarship from Business School, Renmin University of China. The authors are very grateful for the valuable comments and suggestions from Prof. Editor Wolfgang Glänzel and two anonymous reviewers.


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessRenmin University of ChinaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Public Policy and ManagementUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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