Document Type : Articles


1 M.A. in Scientometrics, Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 M.A. in Psychology, Department of Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Professor, Teachers College, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.


Increasing scientific productivity in autism research requires citation evaluations that may produce multiple benefits. One of the most recent citation evaluations is the delayed recognition of scientific productions, known as "Sleeping Beauties", which in this study referred to research articles that were neglected (rarely cited) in the first ten years of publication (ten-year sleep/sleep depth) but suddenly cited in later years (at least ten years later/ten years an opportunity to wake up). Based on the standard and comprehensive selection criteria, out of a total of 8864 papers found in WoS and Medline databases between 1946 and 2000, 197 SB papers were identified. In Scopus, 8550 papers were published between 1946 and 2000, and 232 papers were identified as SB. Gillberg (1983) received the highest SB score in all citation databases, and Vilensky et al. (1981) received the highest SB score among the most cited papers. The innovative nature of the SB papers and the special attention paid to autism in recent years were discussed and concluded as possible reasons for the findings.


Aksnes, D. W., Langfeldt, L. & Wouters, P. (2019). Citations, citation indicators, and research quality: An overview of basic concepts and theories. Sage Open, 9(1).
Amaral D. G. (2017). Editor’s note: Examining the causes of autism. Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science, cer-01-17. Retrieved from
American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 3 Edition (DSM-III). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association
Ayres, A. J. & Tickle, L. S. (1980). Hyper-responsivity to touch and vestibular stimuli as a predictor of positive response to sensory integration procedures by autistic children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 34(6), 375-381.
Bebko, J. M., Konstantareas, M. M. & Springer, J. (1987). Parent and professional evaluations of family stress associated with characteristics of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 17(4), 565-576.
Blair, R. J. R. (1996). Brief report: morality in the autistic child. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26(5), 571-579.
Braun, T., Glänzel, W. & Schubert, A. (2010). On Sleeping Beauties, Princes and other tales of citation distributions…. Research Evaluation, 19(3), 195-202.
Charney, R. (1980). Pronoun errors in autistic children: Support for a social explanation. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 15(1), 39-43.
Colby, K. M. (1973). The rationale for computer-based treatment of language difficulties in nonspeaking autistic children. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 3(3), 254-260.
Cole, S. (1970). Professional standing and the reception of scientific discoveries. American Journal of Sociology, 76(2), 286-306. Retrieved from
Dey, R., Roy, A., Chakraborty, T. & Ghosh, S. (2017). Sleeping beauties in Computer Science: characterization and early identification. Scientometrics, 113(3), 1645-1663.
Deykin, E. Y., & Macmahon, B. (1979). Viral exposure and autism. American Journal of Epidemiology, 109(6), 628-638.
Dolske, M. C., Spollen, J., McKay, S., Lancashire, E. & Tolbert, L. (1993). A preliminary trial of ascorbic acid as supplemental therapy for autism. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 17(5), 765-774.
Du, J. & Wu, Y. (2018). A parameter-free index for identifying under-cited sleeping beauties in science. Scientometrics, 116(2), 959-971.
Ebadi, A. & Schiffauerova, A. (2015). How to receive more funding for your research? Get connected to the right people! PloS one, 10(7), e0133061.
Fang, H. (2018). Analyzing the variation tendencies of the numbers of yearly citations for sleeping beauties in science by using derivative analysis. Scientometrics, 115(2), 1051-1070.
Fazeli-Varzaneh, M., Ghorbi, A., Ausloos, M., Sallinger, E. & Vahdati, S. (2021). Sleeping beauties of coronavirus research. IEEE Access, 9, 21192-21205.
Fiala, D., Šubelj, L., Žitnik, S. & Bajec, M. (2015). Do PageRank-based author rankings outperform simple citation counts? Journal of Informetrics, 9(2), 334-348.
Garretson, H. B., Fein, D. & Waterhouse, L. (1990). Sustained attention in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 20(1), 101-114.
Ghaziuddin, M., Tsai, L. & Ghaziuddin, N. (1991). Brief report: violence in Asperger syndrome, a critique. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 21(3), 349-354.
Gillberg, C. (1983). Are autism and anorexia nervosa related? The British Journal of Psychiatry, 142, 428. 
Goodwin, M. S., Goodwin, T. C. & Cowen, M. A. (1971). Malabsorption and cerebral dysfunction: a multivariate and comparative study of autistic children. Journal of Autism and childhood Schizophrenia, 1(1), 48-62.
Gray, D. E. (1993). Perceptions of stigma: The parents of autistic children. Sociology of Health & Illness, 15(1), 102-120.
Gray, D. E. & Holden, W. J. (1992). Psycho-social well-being among the parents of children with autism. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 18(2), 83-93.
Hansen, S. (2019). Sleep beauties in mathematical research. University of Michigan: Library Deep Blue Documents. Retrieved from
Happé, F. G. (1995). Understanding minds and metaphors: Insights from the study of figurative language in autism. Metaphor and symbol, 10(4), 275-295.
Herther, N. K. (2009). Research evaluation and citation analysis: Key issues and implications. The Electronic Library, 27(3), 361-375.
Ho, Y. S., & Hartley, J. (2017). Sleeping beauties in psychology. Scientometrics, 110(1), 301-305.
Howlin, P. (1984). The acquisition of grammatical morphemes in autistic children: A critique and replication of the findings of Bartolucci, Pierce, and Streiner, 1980. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 14(2), 127-136.
Kamen, S. & SKIER, J. (1985). Dental management of the autistic child. Special Care in Dentistry, 5(1), 20-23.
Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2(3), 217-250.
Ke, Q., Ferrara, E., Radicchi, F. & Flammini, A. (2015). Defining and identifying sleeping beauties in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(24), 7426-7431.
King, M. D. & Bearman, P. S. (2011). Socioeconomic status and the increased prevalence of autism in California. American Sociological Review, 76(2), 320-346.
Klein, S. (1980). Autistic phenomena in neurotic patients. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61(3), 395-402.
Kopp, S. & Gillberg, C. (1992). Girls with social deficits and learning problems: Autism, atypical Asperger syndrome or a variant of these conditions. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 1(2), 89-99.
Leydesdorff, L., Bornmann, L., Comins, J. A. & Milojević, S. (2016). Citations: Indicators of quality? The impact fallacy. Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics, 1: 1.
Lowe, O. & Lindemann, R. (1985). Assessment of the autistic patient's dental needs and ability to undergo dental examination. ASDC Journal of Dentistry for Children, 52(1), 29-35.
Mahler, M. S. (1958). Autism and symbiosis, two extreme disturbances of identity. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 39(2-4), 77-82.
Masterton, B. A. & Biederman, G. B. (1983). Proprioceptive versus visual control in autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 13(2), 141-152.
Moed H. F. (2009). New developments in the use of citation analysis in research evaluation. Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis, 57(1), 13-18. 
Money, J., Bobrow, N. A. & Clarke, F. C. (1971). Autism and autoimmune disease: a family study. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 1(2), 146-160.
Nyhan, W. L. (1972). Behavioral phenotypes in organic genetic disease: Presidential address to the Society for Pediatric Research, May 1, 1971. Pediatric Research, 6(1), 1-9.
Prior, M. & Macmillan, M. B. (1973). Maintenance of sameness in children with Kanner's syndrome. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 3(2), 154-167.
Rimland, B. (1968). On the objective diagnosis of infantile autism. Acta Paedopsychiatrica: International Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 35(4-8), 146–160.
Schopler, E., Rutter, M. & Chess, S. (1979). Editorial: Change of journal scope and title. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 1-10.
Stone, W. L. (1987). Cross-disciplinary perspectives on autism. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 12(4), 615-630.
Stubbs, E. G., Crawford, M. L., Burger, D. R. & Vandenbark, A. A. (1977). Depressed lymphocyte responsiveness in autistic children. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 7(1), 49-55.
Tager‐Flusberg, H., & Anderson, M. (1991). The development of contingent discourse ability in autistic children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 32(7), 1123-1134.
Van Raan, A. F. (2004). Sleeping beauties in science. Scientometrics, 59(3), 467-472.
Van Raan, A. F. (2015). Dormitory of physical and engineering sciences: Sleeping beauties may be sleeping innovations. PLoS One, 10(10), e0139786.
Van Raan, A. F. (2017). Sleeping beauties cited in patents: Is there also a dormitory of inventions?. Scientometrics, 110(3), 1123-1156.
Vilensky, J. A., Damasio, A. R. & Maurer, R. G. (1981). Gait disturbances in patients with autistic behavior: A preliminary study. Archives of neurology, 38(10), 646-649.
Ward, A. J. (1970). Early infantile autism: Diagnosis, etiology, and treatment. Psychological Bulletin, 73(5), 350-362.
White, H. D. (2004). Citation analysis and discourse analysis revisited. Applied linguistics, 25(1), 89-116.
Wu, Q. & Wolfram, D. (2011). The influence of effects and phenomena on citations: a comparative analysis of four citation perspectives. Scientometrics, 89(1), 245-258. 10.1007/s11192-011-0456-0  
Ye, F. Y. & Bornmann, L. (2018). “Smart girls” versus “sleeping beauties” in the sciences: The identification of instant and delayed recognition by using the citation angle. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 69(3), 359-367.