Scientific zero to one: Some common properties of highly-influential papers

Main Article Content

Mohammad Mahdi Jahani Yekta


Based on an intensive study of the most popular papers of the approximately 6,000 top-1% highly-cited (HC) researchers 2018 announced by Clarivate Analytics, the most HC papers in different fields of science in the interval 2001-11 reported by Web-of-Science (Thomson- Reuters), the top 100 most-HC ones ever; reported in 2014 by the same institute, and also the scientific backgrounds and career trends of the involved authors, we first analyze several major properties common in most such highly-influential papers that add something fundamentally new to their corresponding fields, taking them from a “zero” state in some domain to “one”. These properties include importance of the paper topic in essence, firsthand approach to the problem it focuses on, notable improvement of the solution it offers for the problem compared to its existing counterparts, monopoly in some aspect, durability, proper timing, knowledgeable research team and availability of the required resources, effective presentation to the right audience, and; finally, perseverance. We next propose soft citation; an upgrade to the current citation standards, and then a problem-oriented interactive research model as a transformative complement for the state-of-the-art academic publishing system, that would expedite this zero to one transition.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Jahani Yekta, M. M. (2021). Scientific zero to one: Some common properties of highly-influential papers. Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, 26(3), 1–32.


Acero, A. 2015. Should we experiment with new peer-review models? [president’s message]. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, Vol. 32, no. 5: 6.

Aharon, M., Elad, M., and Bruckstein, A. 2006, k–SVD: An algorithm for designing overcomplete dictionaries for sparse representation. IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, Vol. 54, no. 11: 4311–4322.

Ajayan, P. M. 1999. Nanotubes from carbon. Chemical Reviews, Vol. 99, no. 7: 1787–1800.

Albert, R., and Barab´asi, A.-L. 2002. Statistical mechanics of complex networks. Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 74, no. 1: 47.

Albert, R., Jeong, H., and Barab´asi, A.-L. 1999. Internet: Diameter of the World– Wide Web. Nature, Vol. 401, no. 6749: 130–131.

Albert, R., Jeong, H., and Barab´asi, A.-L. 2000. Error and attack tolerance of complex networks. Nature, Vol. 406, no. 6794: 378.

Allison, J. e. a.2006. Geant 4 developments and applications. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Vol. 53, no. 1: 270–278.

Arora, S. K., Youtie, J., Shapira, P., Gao, L., and Ma, T. 2013. Entry strategies in an emerging technology: a pilot web–based study of graphene firms. Scientometrics, Vol. 95, no. 3: 1189–1207.

Arulampalam, M. S., Maskell, S., Gordon, N., and Clapp, T. 2002, Feb. A tutorial on particle filters for online nonlinear/non-Gaussian Bayesian tracking. IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, Vol. 50, no. 2: 174-188.

Ashburner, J., and Friston, K. J. 1999. Nonlinear spatial normalization using basis functions. Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 7, no. 4: 254–266.

Autumn, K., Liang, Y. A., Hsieh, S. T., Zesch, W., Chan, W. P., Kenny, T. W., et al. 2000. Adhesive force of a single gecko foot–hair. Nature, Vol. 405, no. 6787: 681.

Bao, Z., Dodabalapur, A., and Lovinger, A. J. 1996. Soluble and processable regioregular poly (3–hexylthiophene) for thin film field-effect transistor applications with high mobility. Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 69, no. 26: 4108–4110.

Barab´asi, A.-L. 1996. Invasion percolation and global optimization. Physical Review Letters, Vol. 76, no. 20: 3750.

Barab´asi, A.-L., and Albert, R. 1999. Emergence of scaling in random networks. Science, Vol. 286, no. 5439: 509–512.

Barab´asi, A.-L. 2016. Network science. Cambridge university press.

Becerril, H. A., Mao, J., Liu, Z., Stoltenberg, R. M., Bao, Z., and Chen, Y. 2008. Evaluation of solution–processed reduced graphene oxide films as transparent conductors. ACS Nano, Vol. 2, no. 3: 463–470.

Becke, A. D. 1993. Density–functional thermochemistry. III. the role of exact exchange. The Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol. 98, no. 7: 5648–5652.

Bendtsen, J. D., Nielsen, H., Heijne, G. von, and Brunak, S. 2004. Improved prediction of signal peptides: Signal P 3.0. Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 340, no. 4: 783–795.

Bland, J. M., and Altman, D. 1986. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. The Lancet, Vol. 327, no. 8476: 307–310.

Boehm, H., Clauss, A., Fischer, G., and Hofmann, U. 1962. The adsorption behavior of very thin carbon films. Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem., Vol. 316, no. 3-4: 119–127.

Bollob´as, B., and Riordan, O. 2004. Robustness and vulnerability of scale–free random graphs. Internet Mathematics, Vol. 1, no. 1: 1–35.

Bollob´as, B., Riordan, O., Spencer, J., and Tusn´ady, G. 2001. The degree sequence of a scale–free random graph process. Random Structures and Algorithms, Vol. 18, no. 3: 279–290.

Bots, M. L., Hoes, A. W., Koudstaal, P. J., Hofman, A., and Grobbee, D. E. 1997. Common carotid intima–media thickness and risk of stroke and myocardial infarction: the Rotterdam Study. Circulation, Vol. 96, no. 5: 1432–1437.

Braun, V., and Clarke, V. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, Vol. 3, no. 2: 77–101.

Brodie, B. C. 1859. XIII. on the atomic weight of graphite. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 149: 249–259.

Candes, E. J., Romberg, J., and Tao, T. 2006, Feb. Robust uncertainty principles: exact signal reconstruction from highly incomplete frequency information. IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. 52, no. 2: 489–509.

Candes, E. J., Romberg, J. K., and Tao, T. 2006. Stable signal recovery from incomplete and inaccurate measurements. Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics: A Journal Issued by the Courant Institute of Math- ematical Sciences, Vol. 59, no. 8: 1207–1223.

Candes, E. J., and Tao, T. 2005, Dec. Decoding by linear programming. IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. 51, no. 12: 4203–4215.

Candes, E. J., and Tao, T. 2006, Dec. Near-optimal signal recovery from random projections: Universal encoding strategies? IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. 52, no. 12: 5406–5425.

Candes, E. J., and Wakin, M. B. 2008, Mar. An introduction to compressive sampling. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, Vol. 25, no. 2: 21–30.

Carath´eodory, C. 1907. Uber den variabilitatsbereich der koeffizienten von potenzreihen, die gegebene werte nicht annehmen. Mathematische Annalen, Vol. 64, no. 1: 95–115.

Carath´eodory, C. 1911. Uber den variabilitatsbereich der fourierschen kon stanten von positiven harmonischen funktionen. Rendiconti Del Circolo Matematico di Palermo (1884–1940), Vol. 32, no. 1: 193–217.

Carr, E. R., and Thompson, M. C. 2014. Gender and climate change adaptation in agrarian settings: Current thinking, new directions, and research frontiers. Geography Compass, Vol. 8, no. 3: 182–197.

Clarivate Analytics 2018. Highly Cited Researchers 2018 - Identifying top talent in the sciences and social sciences (Tech. Rep.), Web of Science, Clarivate Analytics,

Cohen, R., Erez, K., Ben-Avraham, D., and Havlin, S. 2000. Resilience of the Internet to random breakdowns. Physical Review Letters, Vol. 85, no. 21: 4626.

Crone, B., Dodabalapur, A., Lin, Y.-Y., Filas, R., Bao, Z., LaDuca, A., et al. 2000. Large-scale complementary integrated circuits based on organic transistors. Nature, Vol. 403, no. 6769: 521.

Cui, Y., Wei, Q., Park, H., and Lieber, C. M. 2001. Nanowire nanosensors for highly sensitive and selective detection of biological and chemical species. Science, Vol. 293, no. 5533: 1289–1292.

Deb, K., Pratap, A., Agarwal, S., and Meyarivan, T. 2002, Apr. A fast and elitist multi-objective genetic algorithm: NSGA-II. IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol. 6, no. 2: 182–197.

Dominici, M., Le Blanc, K., Mueller, I., Slaper-Cortenbach, I., Marini, F., Krause, D., et al. 2006. Minimal criteria for defining multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells – the international society for cellular therapy position statement. Cytotherapy, Vol. 8, no. 4: 315–317.

Donoho, D. L. 2006, Apr. Compressed sensing. IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. 52, no. 4: 1289–1306.

Dorogovtsev, S. N., Mendes, J. F. F., and Samukhin, A. N. 2000. Structure of growing networks with preferential linking. Physical Review Letters, Vol. 85, no. 21: 4633.

Dresselhaus, M., and Dresselhaus, G. 1981. Intercalation compounds of graphite. Advances in Physics, Vol. 30, no. 2: 139–326.

Ebbesen, T., and Ajayan, P. 1992. Large-scale synthesis of carbon nanotubes. Nature, Vol. 358, no. 6383: 220.

Efron, B. 1979, Jan. Bootstrap methods: Another look at the jackknife. Ann. Statist., Vol. 7, no. 1: 1–26.

Fan, J. 2018. Local polynomial modeling and its applications: monographs on statistics and applied probability 66. Routledge.

Fan, J., and Li, R. 2001. Variable selection via nonconcave penalized likelihood and its oracle properties. Journal of the American statistical Association, Vol. 96, no. 456: 1348–1360.

Felsenstein, J. 1985. Confidence limits on phylogenies: an approach using the bootstrap. Evolution, Vol. 39, no. 4: 783–791.

Gao, W., Alemany, L. B., Ci, L., and Ajayan, P. M. 2009. New insights into the structure and reduction of graphite oxide. Nature Chemistry, Vol. 1, no. 5: 403.

Geim, A., Dubonos, S., Grigorieva, I., Novoselov, K., Zhukov, A., and Shapoval, S. Y. 2003. Microfabricated adhesive mimicking gecko foot–hair. Nature Materials, Vol. 2, no. 7: 461.

Geim, A. K. 2011, July-September. Nobel lecture: Random walk to graphene. Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 83, no. 3: 851–862.

Geim, A. K., and Novoselov, K. S. 2010. The rise of graphene. In Nanoscience and technology: A collection of reviews from nature journals (pp. 11–19). World Scientific.

Gronthos, S., Brahim, J., Li, W., Fisher, L., Cherman, N., Boyde, A., et al. 2002. Stem cell properties of human dental pulp stem cells. Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 81, no. 8: 531–535.

Gupta, V., et al. 2009. Application of low–cost adsorbents for dye removal–a review. Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 90, no. 8: 2313-2342.

Hak, L., Pols, H., Visser, T., Drexhage, H., Witteman, J., and Hofman, A. 2000. Subclinical hypothyroidism is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction in elderly women: the Rotterdam Study. Annals of Internal Medicine.

Heeringa, J., Kuip, D. A. van der, Hofman, A., Kors, J. A., Herpen, G. van, Stricker, B. H. C., et al. 2006. Prevalence, incidence and lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation: the Rotterdam Study. European Heart Journal, Vol. 27, no. 8: 949–953.

Huang, G.-B., Zhou, H., Ding, X., and Zhang, R. 2012. Extreme learning machine for regression and multiclass classification. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B (Cybernetics), Vol. 42, no. 2: 513–529.

Huang, G.-B., Zhu, Q.-Y., and Siew, C.-K. 2006. Extreme learning machine: theory and applications. Neurocomputing, Vol. 70, no. 1-3: 489–501.

Huang, G.-B., Zhu, Q.-Y., Siew, C.-K., et al. 2004. Extreme learning machine: a new learning scheme of feedforward neural networks. Neural Networks, Vol. 2, 985–990.

Huang, Y., Duan, X., Cui, Y., Lauhon, L. J., Kim, K.-H., and Lieber, C. M. 2001. Logic gates and computation from assembled nanowire building blocks. Science, Vol. 294, no. 5545: 1313–1317.

Jahani Yekta, M. M. 2018, Aug. Problem–oriented interactive research with implicit peer review. IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol. 38, no. 4: 14.

Julıusdottir, M., Skaptadottir, U. D., and Karlsdottir, A. 2013. Gendered migration in turbulent times in iceland. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift-Norwegian Journal of Geography, Vol. 67, no. 5: 266–275.

Jyrkinen, M. 2014. Women managers, careers and gendered ageism. Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 30, no. 2: 175–185.

Kaplan, E. L., and Meier, P. 1958. Nonparametric estimation from incomplete observations. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 53, no. 282: 457–481.

Kokot, P. 2014. Structures and relationships: women partners’ careers in Ger- many and the UK. Accounting, Auditing, and Accountability Journal, Vol. 27, no. 1: 48–72.

Kolpin, D. W., Furlong, E. T., Meyer, M. T., Thurman, E. M., Zaugg, S. D., Barber, L. B., et al. 2002. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in us streams, 1999–2000: A national reconnaissance. Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 36, no. 6: 1202–1211.

Krapivsky, P. L., and Redner, S. 2002. Statistics of changes in lead node in connectivity–driven networks. Physical Review Letters, Vol. 89, no. 25: 258703.

Kreuer, K. 2001. On the development of proton conducting polymer membranes for hydrogen and methanol fuel cells. Journal of Membrane Science, Vol. 185, no. 1: 29–39.

Krizhevsky, A., Sutskever, I., and Hinton, G. E. 2012. ImageNet classification with deep convolutional neural networks. In Advances in neural information processing systems (pp. 1097–1105).

Laeng, B., Bloem, I. M., DAscenzo, S., and Tommasi, L. 2014. Scrutinizing visual images: The role of gaze in mental imagery and memory. Cognition, Vol. 131, no. 2: 263–283.

Lee, C., Yang, W., and Parr, R. G. 1988. Development of the colle-salvetti correlation–energy formula into a functional of the electron density. Physical Review B, Vol. 37, no. 2: 785.

Lehman, K. 2011. Reviews of science for science librarians: Graphene. Science and Technology Libraries, Vol. 30, no. 2: 132–142.

Levac, L. 2013. “Is this for real?” participatory research, intersectionality, and the development of leader and collective efficacy with young mothers. Action Research, Vol. 11, no. 4: 423–441.

Li, D., Mu¨ller, M. B., Gilje, S., Kaner, R. B., and Wallace, G. G. 2008. Processable aqueous dispersions of graphene nanosheets. Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 3, no. 2: 101–105.

Lipomi, D. J., Vosgueritchian, M., Tee, B. C., Hellstrom, S. L., Lee, J. A., Fox, C. H., et al. 2011. Skin–like pressure and strain sensors based on transparent elastic films of carbon nanotubes. Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 6, no. 12: 788.

Liu, H., Liu, Y., and Sun, F. 2014. Traffic sign recognition using group sparse coding. Information Sciences, Vol. 266, 75–89.

Liu, J., Rinzler, A. G., Dai, H., Hafner, J. H., Bradley, R. K., Boul, P. J., et al. 1998. Fullerene pipes. Science, Vol. 280, no. 5367: 1253–1256.

Livak, K. J., and Schmittgen, T. D. 2001. Analysis of relative gene expression data using real-time quantitative PCR and the 2- ∆∆CT method. Methods, Vol. 25, no. 4: 402–408.

Lowe, D. G. 2004. Distinctive image features from scale–invariant keypoints. International Journal of Computer Vision, Vol. 60, no. 2: 91–110.

Lowry, O. H., Rosebrough, N. J., Farr, A. L., Randall, R. J., et al. 1951. Protein measurement with the folin phenol reagent. Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 193, 265–275.

Malik, V. S., Schulze, M. B., and Hu, F. B. 2006. Intake of sugar–sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, no. 2: 274–288.

Mannsfeld, S. C., Tee, B. C., Stoltenberg, R. M., Chen, C. V. H., Barman, S., Muir, B. V., et al. 2010. Highly sensitive flexible pressure sensors with microstructured rubber dielectric layers. Nature Materials, Vol. 9, no. 10: 859.

Masters, B., and Thiel, P. 2014. Zero to one: notes on startups, or how to build the future. Random House.

McCall, L. 2008. The complexity of intersectionality. In Intersectionality and beyond (pp. 65–92). Routledge-Cavendish.

Novoselov, K. S., Geim, A. K., Morozov, S., Jiang, D., Katsnelson, M., Grigorieva, I., et al. 2005. Two-dimensional gas of massless dirac fermions in graphene. Nature, Vol. 438, no. 7065: 197.

Novoselov, K. S., Geim, A. K., Morozov, S. V., Jiang, D., Zhang, Y., Dubonos, S. V., et al. 2004. Electric field effect in atomically thin carbon films. Science, Vol. 306, no. 5696: 666–669.

O’regan, B., and Gratzel, M. 1991. A low–cost, high–efficiency solar cell based on dye–sensitized colloidal TiO2 films. Nature, Vol. 353, no. 6346: 737.

Pastor-Satorras, R., and Vespignani, A. 2001. Epidemic spreading in scale–free networks. Physical Review Letters, Vol. 86, no. 14: 3200.

Pettersen, E. F., Goddard, T. D., Huang, C. C., Couch, G. S., Greenblatt, D. M., Meng, E. C., et al. 2004. UCSF Chimera – a visualization system for exploratory research and analysis. Journal of Computational Chemistry, Vol. 25, no. 13: 1605–1612.

Pham, C. H., and Fayerberg, R. 2011. Current trends in patenting graphene and graphene–based inventions. Nanotech. L. and Bus., Vol. 8, 10.

Prony, G. 1795. Essai experimental et analytique: sur les lois de la dilatabilit´e de fluides´elastique et sur celles de la force expansive de la vapeur de l´alkool´a diff´erentes temp´eratures. J. Ecole Polytechnique Flor´eal Plairial III, Vol. 1: 22.

Rumelhart, D. E., Hinton, G. E., and Williams, R. J. 1986. Learning representations by back–propagating errors. Nature, Vol. 323: 533–536.

Soler, J. M., Artacho, E., Gale, J. D., Garc´ıa, A., Junquera, J., Ordej´on, P., et al. 2002. The SIESTA method for ab initio order-N materials simulation. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Vol. 14, no. 11: 2745.

Southern, E. M. 1975. Detection of specific sequences among DNA fragments separated by gel electrophoresis. Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 98, no. 3: 503–517.

Tamura, K., Dudley, J., Nei, M., and Kumar, S. 2007. Mega4: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis (mega) software version 4.0. Molecular biology and evolution, Vol. 24, no. 8: 1596–1599.

Tao, T. 2007. What is good mathematics? Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, Vol. 44, no. 4: 623–634.

Tao, T. 2008. Structure and randomness: pages from year one of a mathematical blog. American Mathematical Society Providence, RI.

Tendeiro, D., Lopes, G., Vieira, P., and Santos, J. P. 2014. Monte Carlo simulation of laser beams interaction with the human eye using Geant 4. Biomedical Engineering Online, Vol. 13, no. 1: 58.

Thess, A., Lee, R., Nikolaev, P., Dai, H., Petit, P., Robert, J., et al. 1996. Crystalline ropes of metallic carbon nanotubes. Science, Vol. 273, no. 5274: 483–487.

Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Landeau, B., Papathanassiou, D., Crivello, F., Etard, O., Delcroix, N., et al. 2002. Automated anatomical labeling of activations in SPM using a macroscopic anatomical parcellation of the MNI MRI single-subject brain. Neuroimage, Vol. 15, no. 1: 273–289.

Valcher, M. E. 2015. Peer review [president’s message]. IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol. 35, no. 1: 14–16.

Van Noorden, R., Maher, B., and Nuzzo, R. 2014. The top 100 papers. Nature News, Vol. 514, no. 7524: 550–553.

Vargo, S. L., and Lusch, R. F. 2004. Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, Vol. 68, no. 1: 1–17.

Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., and Davis, F. D. 2003. User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view. MIS quarterly, 425–478.

Vetterli, M., Marziliano, P., and Blu, T. 2001. Sampling signals with finite rate of innovation (Tech. Rep.).

Watts, D. J., and Strogatz, S. H. 1998. Collective dynamics of small–world networks. Nature, Vol. 393, no. 6684: 440.

Women’s Health Initiative Investigators, W. G. for the. 2002. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA, Vol. 288, no. 3: 321–333.

Wu, H., Wang, D., Shi, L., Wen, Z., and Ming, Z. 2014. Midsagittal plane extraction from brain images based on 3D SIFT. Physics in Medicine and Biology, Vol. 59, no. 6: 1367.

Wu, L., Wang, D., and Evans, J. A. 2019. Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology. Nature, Vol. 566, no. 7744: 378.

Zewail, A. 2010. Curiouser and curiouser: managing discovery making. Nature News, Vol. 468, no. 7322: 347.

Zhang, Y., Small, J. P., Amori, M. E., and Kim, P. 2005. Electric field modulation of galvanomagnetic properties of mesoscopic graphite. Physical Review Letters, Vol. 94, no. 17: 176803.

Zhang, Y., Tan, Y.-W., Stormer, H. L., and Kim, P. 2005. Experimental observation of the quantum hall effect and Berry’s phase in graphene. Nature, Vol. 438, no. 7065: 201.