Ideas with impact: How connectivity shapes idea diffusion

Dirk Deichmann*, Christine Moser, Julie M. Birkholz, Adina Nerghes, Peter Groenewegen, Shenghui Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Despite a growing body of research on idea diffusion, there is a lack of knowledge on why some ideas successfully diffuse and stand out from the crowd while others do not surface or remain unnoticed. We address this question by looking into the characteristics of an idea, specifically its connectivity in a content network. In a content network, ideas connect to other ideas through their content—the words that the ideas have in common. We hypothesize that a high connectivity of an idea in a content network is beneficial for idea diffusion because this idea will more likely be conceived as novel yet at the same time also as more useful because it appears as more familiar to the audience. Moreover, we posit that a high social connectivity of the team working on the idea further enhances the effect of high content connectivity on idea diffusion. Our study focuses on academic conference publications and the co-authorship data of a community of computer science researchers from 2006 to 2012. We find confirmation for our hypotheses and discuss the implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103881
JournalResearch policy
Issue number1
Early online date11 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Content network
  • Idea diffusion
  • Research collaboration
  • Scientific publication
  • Social network
  • Citations
  • 22/2 OA procedure

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