On the origins and the historical roots of the Higgs boson research from a bibliometric perspective

Regular Article

DOI: 10.1140/epjp/i2014-14111-6

Cite this article as:
Barth, A., Marx, W., Bornmann, L. et al. Eur. Phys. J. Plus (2014) 129: 111. doi:10.1140/epjp/i2014-14111-6


The subject of our present paper is the analysis of the origins or historical roots of the Higgs boson research from a bibliometric perspective, using a segmented regression analysis in combination with a method named reference publication year spectroscopy (RPYS). Our analysis is based on the references cited in the Higgs boson publications published since 1974. The objective of our analysis consists of identifying specific individual publications in the Higgs boson research context to which the scientific community frequently had referred to. We are interested in seminal works which contributed to a high extent to the discovery of the Higgs boson. Our results show that researchers in the Higgs boson field preferably refer to more recently published papers —particularly papers published since the beginning of the sixties. For example, our analysis reveals seven major contributions which appeared within the sixties: Englert and Brout (1964), Higgs (1964, 2 papers), and Guralnik et al. (1964) on the Higgs mechanism as well as Glashow (1961), Weinberg (1967), and Salam (1968) on the unification of weak and electromagnetic interaction. Even if the Nobel Prize award highlights the outstanding importance of the work of Peter Higgs and Francois Englert, bibliometrics offer the additional possibility of getting hints to other publications in this research field (especially to historical publications), which are of vital importance from the expert point of view.

Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FIZ KarlsruheEggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Solid State ResearchStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Administrative Headquarters of the Max Planck SocietyDivision for Science and Innovation StudiesMunichGermany
  4. 4.Professorship for Social Psychology and Research on Higher Education, ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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