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July 08, 2006


Michal Migurski

How can this be squared with the "Obliteration Phenomenon?" (

In that essay, Garfield describes how citations in academic papers drop off when ideas become so widely influential that they're no longer considered worth citing, e.g. Einstein's original papers on relativity. A more current example might be Michael Goldhaber's ideas on attention economics - he doesn't get cited often, but his few papers on the topic from the past decade influence and support huge swaths of business plans being tossed around right now. These graphs feel as though they are measuring second-order influence, e.g. people who are pundits popularizing ideas worked out by others. Who is the actual influencer here?

Ian Stiles

Very interesting.

Would you be so kind as to indicate what you used to gather the data and then view it?


Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
And you are right - influence is not just about numbers; that's called popularity.

While those who are very popular usually have some influence you don't need to be popular to have influence.

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