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Publication . Article . 2020

Sleeping Beauties of Coronavirus Research

Mohsen Fazeli-Varzaneh; Ali Ghorbi; Marcel Ausloos; Emanuel Sallinger; Sahar Vahdati;
Open Access
Published: 23 Nov 2020 Journal: IEEE Access, volume 9, pages 21,192-21,205 (issn: 2169-3536, Copyright policy )
Publisher: IEEE

A “Sleeping Beauty” (SB) in science is a metaphor for a scholarly publication that remains relatively unnoticed by the related communities for a long time; - the publication is “sleeping”. However, suddenly due to the appearance of some phenomenon, such a “forgotten” publication may become a center of scientific attention; - the SB is “awakened”. Currently, there are specific scientific areas for which sleeping beauties (SBs) are awakened. For example, as the world is experiencing the COVID-19 global pandemic (triggered by SARS-CoV-2), publications on coronaviruses appear to be awakened. Thus, one can raise questions of scientific interest: are these publications coronavirus related SBs? Moreover, while much literature exists on other coronaviruses, there seems to be no comprehensive investigation on COVID-19, - in particular in the context of SBs. Nowadays, such SB papers can be even used for sustaining literature reviews and/or scientific claims about COVID-19. In our study, in order to pinpoint pertinent SBs, we use the “beauty score” (B-score) measure. The Activity Index (AI) and the Relative Specialization Index (RSI) are also calculated to compare countries where such SBs appear. Results show that most of these SBs were published previously to the present epidemic time (triggered by SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1), and are awakened in 2020. Besides outlining the most important SBs, we show from what countries and institutions they originate, and the most prolific author(s) of such SBs. The citation trend of SBs that have the highest B-score is also discussed.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Context (language use) Social science Phenomenon Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) History Citation Beauty media_common.quotation_subject media_common Activity index Bibliometrics


Beauty score, bibliometric, coronavirus, COVID-19, sleeping beauty, activity index, Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering, TK1-9971, General Engineering, General Materials Science, General Computer Science, Science - General, Computers and Information Processing, relative specialization index, Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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Funded by
Learning, Applying, Multiplying Big Data Analytics
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 809965
  • Funding stream: H2020 | CSA
UKRI| VADA: Value Added Data Systems -- Principles and Architecture
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Project Code: EP/M025268/1
  • Funding stream: EPSRC
Related to Research communities
Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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IEEE Access
Article . 2020