Luis Bettencourt - Reconstructing the evolution of science and technology from their digital traces
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Santa Fe Institute, USA.
Over the last decade many products of scientific and technological evolution have become increasingly available for scientific analysis. This includes standard results of research such as papers or patents and their associated networks of co-authorship and citation, but also other, more indirect byproducts of scientific activity, such as the patterns of search and download of scientists "in action" and measures of societal investment in scientific research and its commercial and industrial end products. My talk will argue, using several examples from my recent research, that it is in the integration of these quantitative indicators - from inputs to research to their ultimate cultural and economic consequences through more familiar bibliometric measures of scientific activity - that we will find the key for a new scientific and quantitative understanding of science. My case will be illustrated by three examples: 1) I will show that a population dynamics of scientific fields is an essential ingredient - as well as a sign - of their (un)successful development, which can be expressed in terms of topological transitions in collaboration,structures, 2) that lowering the threshold for the identification of the relationship between documents, by analyzing scientist's clickstream behavior, reveals that they read much more widely than may be judged based on citation or collaboration patters, and 3) that the development of new technologies is a stimulated process that relies not only on R&D inputs but also, crucially, on market pull and that these two mechanisms are essential to account for current patterns of invention in new energy technologies around the world.
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