Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics
In the book The Essential Tension Thomas Kuhn described the conflict between tradition and innovation in scientific research --i.e., the desire to explore new promising areas, counterposed to the need to capitalize on the work done in the past. While it is true that along their careers many scientists probably felt this tension, only few works have tried to quantify it. Here, we address this question by analyzing a large-scale dataset, containing all the papers published by the American Physical Society (APS) in more than $25$ years, which allows for a better understanding of scientists' careers evolution in Physics. We employ the Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (PACS) present in each paper to map the scientific interests of $181,397$ authors and their evolution along the years. Our results indeed confirm the existence of the `essential tension' with scientists balancing between exploring the boundaries of their area and exploiting previous work. In particular, we found that although the majority of physicists change the topics of their research, they stay within the same broader area thus exploring with caution new scientific endeavors. Furthermore, we quantify the flows of authors moving between different subfields and pinpoint which areas are more likely to attract or donate researchers to the other ones. Overall, our results depict a very distinctive portrait of the evolution of research interests in Physics and can help in designing specific policies for the future.
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Alberto Aleta (add twitter)
Sandro Meloni (edit)
Nicola Perra (edit)
Yamir Moreno (edit)
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RHaunschild: Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics: https://t.co/Fh9hXZc9Gk #bibliometrics #pacs
emulenews: Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics. 181,397 authors and the evolution of their interests along the years. To help in designing specific policies for the future. https://t.co/8qg2QS6PUM https://t.co/pBad6bTu2w
alexvespi: Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics “scientists balancing between exploring the boundaries of their area and exploiting previous work” https://t.co/yhWVq6QsK1 By @SrAleta @Sandro_Meloni @net_science @cosnet_bifi https://t.co/qMTd4u2Vbs
fede7j: Very interesting work by @SrAleta @Sandro_Meloni @net_science @cosnet_bifi on mapping the evolution of scientific interests in physics in the APS journals https://t.co/HLiL8iuP6m
bgoncalves: Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics. (arXiv:1904.06306v1 [physics.soc-ph]) https://t.co/5M10oVR1FL
cosnet_bifi: Our latest work is out: "Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics" (https://t.co/nNOdOs3uyw). Here we study an essential tension in science: whether to explore new boundaries or exploit previous works. w/ @SrAleta @Sandro_Meloni @net_science https://t.co/0n52j9Z6zO
net_science: Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics. (arXiv:1904.06306v1 [physics.soc-ph]) https://t.co/n9l0LRCAs6
OSablin: "Explore with caution: mapping the evolution of scientific interest in Physics. (arXiv:1904.06306v1 [physics.soc-ph])" https://t.co/0XnAooBHg9
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