Delayed recognition of Judah Folkman’s hypothesis on tumor angiogenesis: when a Prince awakens a Sleeping Beauty by self-citation

Catégorie : Article dans une revue

Auteur(s) : Adil El Aichouchi , Philippe Gorry

Nom de la revue : Scientometrics

pp. 385-399

Année de publication : 2018

Résumé :

Judah Folkman is considered the father of angiogenesis research. However, his hypothesis on tumor angiogenesis initially met with considerable skepticism. Scientific resistance has been described in the sociology of science, and leads to delayed recognition of pioneering work. In bibliometrics, delayed recognition is characterized by papers referred to as “sleeping beauties”. Sleeping beauties do not achieve recognition in terms of citations until they are awakened a few years after their original publication. The study of sleeping beauties is necessary to understand scientific knowledge better. The present paper explores the extent to which the phenomenon of delayed recognition affected Folkman’s body of work by analyzing his scientific production and the citation life of his publications. Citation analysis shows that Folkman’s landmark paper published in 1971 is a sleeping beauty. Scientometric analysis was combined with a qualitative analysis of the Folkman case in order to shed light on the reasons behind this delayed recognition, and the awakening of the “Sleeping Beauty” by a “Prince”, thus attracting a lot of attention in terms of citations. Interestingly, the fact that Judah Folkman was one of the co-authors of the Prince paper challenges the practice of excluding self-citations when conducting bibliometric analysis. By continuously citing his own paper after years of sleep, Folkman demonstrated his persistence and belief in the importance of his theory. Constancy and continuity in research are important components in ensuring the acceptance of unpopular hypotheses and the development of new research fields.

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