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The Competition for Attention and the Evolution of Science


  • Warren Thorngate


  • Jing Liu


  • Wahida Chowdhury



Whenever the amount of information produced exceeds the amount of attention available to consume it, a competition for attention is born. The competition is increasingly fierce in science where the exponential growth of information has forced its producers, consumers and gatekeepers to become increasingly selective in what they attend to and what they ignore. Paradoxically, as the criteria of selection among authors, editors and readers of scientific journal articles co-evolve, they show signs of becoming increasingly unscientific. The present article suggests how the paradox can be addressed with computer simulation, and what its implications for the future of science might be.

Suggested Citation

  • Warren Thorngate & Jing Liu & Wahida Chowdhury, 2011. "The Competition for Attention and the Evolution of Science," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 14(4), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2011-55-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nigel Gilbert, 1997. "A Simulation of the Structure of Academic Science," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 2(2), pages 1-3.
    2. Hands,D. Wade, 2001. "Reflection without Rules," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521797962, March.
    3. Bernd-O. Heine & Matthias Meyer & Oliver Strangfeld, 2005. "Stylised Facts and the Contribution of Simulation to the Economic Analysis of Budgeting," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 8(4), pages 1-4.
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