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The Matthew effect was first described by Merton who referred to a passage in the Gospel According to St. Matthew (25:29): "Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath." As Merton (1968: 58) puts it, "the Matthew effect consists in the accruing of greater increments of recognition for particular scientific contributions to scientists of considerable repute and the withholding of such recognition from scientists whom have not yet made their mark." The Matthew effect, or the principle of cumulative advantage, operates in various domains of creativity and accounts for unequal recognition and fame. As Simonton (1984: 92) explains, "Matthew effect functions to create a small group of eminent leaders. In leadership, as in creative endeavours, an elite few accumulate more and more influence and power, and humanity is progressively stratified into the eminent, the also-run, and the anonymous multitudes."
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