Dynamics of Disruption in Science and Technology

Michael Park, Erin Leahey, Russell Funk

Although the number of new scientific discoveries and technological
inventions has increased dramatically over the past century, there have also
been concerns of a slowdown in the progress of science and technology. We
analyze 25 million papers and 4 million patents across 6 decades and find that
science and technology are becoming less disruptive of existing knowledge, a
pattern that holds nearly universally across fields. We link this decline in
disruptiveness to a narrowing in the utilization of existing knowledge.
Diminishing quality of published science and changes in citation practices are
unlikely to be responsible for this trend, suggesting that this pattern
represents a fundamental shift in science and technology.

Read the full article at: arxiv.org