Though Science is traditionally associated with creative behavior, concerns have been raised on its professional procedures being sufficiently open to innovative research. Thanks to a new measurement of novelty based on the frequencies of pairwise combinations of article keywords calculated on the set of all research articles published from 1999 to 2013 in the journals referenced by the WoS (more than ten million papers), we find no evidence of shrinking novelty in science over that period. Novel contributions are more often performed in larger teams that span more institutional boundaries and geographic areas. High novelty increases citations by more than forty percent and the odds of a “big hit” by about fifty percent. High novelty simultaneously reduces citational risk conditioned on being published to a large extent because it rises the odds of the problem remaining active in the future. As we document that novel papers match preferentially with top journals (even controlling for journal quality), the risk induced by novel research is more likely to materialize through the publication process.
About Nicolas Carayol
Nicolas Carayol is PhD from the University of Toulouse, and professor of economics at the University of Bordeaux since 2008. He conducts research on the field of the economics of science and innovation and on the economics of networks. He currently coordinates several research projects on the dynamics of science, and on impact evaluation and the design of science policy (project funding, excellence programs, tech transfer...).
Université de Bordeaux
Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universitat Politècnica de València | Camino de Vera s/n