This project is part of a larger initiative to chart and communicate the evolution of science on a global scale and to provide more effective means of accessing and managing humanity‚ scholarly knowledge and expertise. It aims to study science using the tools and methods of science as suggested by Derek J. de Solla Price more than 40 years ago. In particular, we propose to develop a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to model the structure and evolution of scholarly knowledge. Recent work in network science aims to analyze and model the statistical and structural properties of paper-citation or co-author datasets. Of particular interest is the identification of elementary mechanisms that lead to the emergence of small-world and scale-free network structures.
This project attempts to develop and validate agent-based, computational models that describe the dynamically evolving structure of scholarly knowledge ecologies. In particular, we are interested in analyzing and modeling the co-evolution of author and paper networks, the merging and splitting of existing scientific topics, the emergence of novel topics, the diffusion of reputations, and also the diffusion of scientific concepts via co-authorship and via the production and consumption of papers. We propose to extend our previously developed TARL model of scholarly scientific growth (Börner, Maru and Goldstone, 2004). This computational model simulates individual scientists and their production and consumption of scholarly works.
We seek to answer questions such as: How will the structure of science evolve? How do authors and author communities use and contribute to the existing body of scholarly knowledge? How do scientific topics split and merge and how do new topics emerge? How does the reputation of authors and author teams diffuse? How do scientific concepts diffuse via co-authorship and paper-citation links? What is the influence of geospatial proximity and semantic proximity on the two above mentioned diffusion processes? What are the temporal dynamics of co-evolving author-paper networks? By modeling the evolution and diffusion of concepts in dynamically evolving network ecologies, the proposed research will advance methodological frontiers in agent-based modeling, cognitive science, complex network analysis, information dynamics, scientometrics, information diffusion theories, and information visualization. Findings of this project will have practical value for researchers and educators, research managers, grant agencies, and society, all of whom would benefit from a global view of the structure and evolution of science.
Funding for this project comes from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, "Studying Complex Systems: 2005 Research Awards", http://www.jsmf.org/grants/cs/essays/2005/borner.htm