In conclusion, the strong ﬁrst-mover advantage predicted by theories of the scientiﬁc citation process seems to be quantitatively substantiated by empirical citation data, at least in some areas. The cynical observer would, it appears, have some justiﬁcation in concluding that if you want to be well cited you are better oﬀ writing the ﬁrst paper in such an area than writing the best. Other areas, by contrast, show no ﬁrst-mover eﬀect, which may
be an indication that those areas do not constitute selfcontained research ﬁelds as assumed by the theory. And even in cases where the ﬁrst-mover eﬀect is strong, a small number of later papers do seem buck the trend and attract signiﬁcant attention in deﬁance of predictions. We tentatively suggest that the reader looking for true breakthroughs could do worse than keep an eye out for papers such as these.