Report for the Office of Scientific and Technical Information: Population Modeling of the Emergence and Development of Scientific Fields
Report for the Office of Scientific and Technical Information: Population Modeling of the Emergence and Development of Scientific Fields The accelerated development of digital libraries and archives, in tandem with efficient search engines and the computational ability to retrieve and parse massive amounts of information, are making it possible to quantify the time evolution of scientific literatures. These data are but one piece of the tangible recorded evidence of the processes whereby scientists create and exchange information in their journeys towards the generation of knowledge. As such, these tools provide a proxy with which to study our ability to innovate. Innovation has often been linked with prosperity and growth and, consequently, trying to understand what drives scientific innovation is of extreme interest. Identifying sets of population characteristics, factors, and mechanisms that enable scientific communities to remain at the cutting edge, accelerate their growth, or increase their ability to re-organize around new themes or research topics is therefore of special significance. Yet generating a quantitative understanding of the factors that make scientific fields arise and/or become more or less productive is still in its infancy. This is precisely the type of knowledge most needed for promoting and sustaining innovation. Ideally, the efficient and strategic allocation of resources on the part of funding agencies and corporations would be driven primarily by more »
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