Most scientists can name an example of an important discovery that had little initial impact on contemporary research. Mendel's work is a classic example.12 The phenomenon of delayed recognition is sometimes invoked in disputes about the validity of citation analysis in evaluating scientists. However, as bibliometricians know, actual examples of delayed recognition are rare.
To identify such papers and to shed some light on their role in scientific communication, we analyzed programmatically the citation histories of the 450,000 research and review articles indexed in the 1980 edition of the
The chance that a paper, uncited for...
Other examples of delayed recognition, including Inhibin, Scanning Electron Microscopy, and the Genetics of Color Blindness, which were identified by citation analysis, can be found at