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A Simulation of the Structure of Academic Science

Author

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  • Nigel Gilbert

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Abstract

The contemporary structure of scientific activity, including the publication of papers in academic journals, citation behaviour, the clustering of research into specialties and so on has been intensively studied over the last fifty years. A number of quantitative relationships between aspects of the system have been observed. This paper reports on a simulation designed to see whether it is possible to reproduce the form of these observed relationships using a small number of simple assumptions. The simulation succeeds in generating a specialty structure with 'areas' of science displaying growth and decline. It also reproduces Lotka's Law concerning the distribution of citations among authors. The simulation suggests that it is possible to generate many of the quantitative features of the present structure of science and that one way of looking at scientific activity is as a system in which scientific papers generate further papers, with authors (scientists) playing a necessary but incidental role. The theoretical implications of these suggestions are briefly explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Nigel Gilbert, 1997. "A Simulation of the Structure of Academic Science," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 2(2), pages 1-3.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:1997-15-1
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Petra Ahrweiler & Andreas Pyka & Nigel Gilbert, 2004. "Simulating Knowledge Dynamics In Innovation Networks (Skin)," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Industry And Labor Dynamics The Agent-Based Computational Economics Approach, chapter 14, pages 284-296 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Petra Ahrweiler, 2017. "Agent-based simulation for science, technology, and innovation policy," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 391-415, January.
    3. repec:spr:scient:v:87:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0339-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:53:y:2002:i:3:d:10.1023_a:1014825113328 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Andreas Pyka & Nigel Gilbert & Petra Ahrweiler, 2006. "Simulating Knowledge-Generation and -Distribution Processes in Innovation Collaborations and Networks," Discussion Paper Series 287, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
    6. Petra Ahrweiler & Michel Schilperoord & Nigel Gilbert & Andreas Pyka, 2012. "Simulating the Role of MNCs for Knowledge and Capital Dynamics in Networks of Innovation," Chapters,in: Innovation and Institutional Embeddedness of Multinational Companies, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Petra Ahrweiler, 2011. "Modelling Theory Communities in Science," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 14(4), pages 1-8.
    8. repec:spr:scient:v:113:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2244-y is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:spr:scient:v:89:y:2011:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0432-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:spr:scient:v:89:y:2011:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0431-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:spr:scient:v:99:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1239-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. David Chavalarias, 2017. "What’s wrong with Science?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 481-503, January.
    13. Gilbert, Nigel & Ahrweiler, Petra & Pyka, Andreas, 2007. "Learning in innovation networks: Some simulation experiments," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 378(1), pages 100-109.
    14. Matthias Meyer & Iris Lorscheid & Klaus G. Troitzsch, 2009. "The Development of Social Simulation as Reflected in the First Ten Years of JASSS: a Citation and Co-Citation Analysis," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 12(4), pages 1-12.
    15. Massimo Riccaboni & Maria Laura Frigotto, 2011. "A Few Special Cases: Scientific Creativity and Network Dynamics in the Field of Rare Diseases," DISA Working Papers 2011/03, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 24 May 2011.
    16. Squazzoni, Flaminio & Gandelli, Claudio, 2012. "Saint Matthew strikes again: An agent-based model of peer review and the scientific community structure," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 265-275.
    17. Elmar Kiesling & Markus Günther & Christian Stummer & Lea Wakolbinger, 2012. "Agent-based simulation of innovation diffusion: a review," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 20(2), pages 183-230, June.
    18. Simone Righi & Károly Takács, 2017. "The miracle of peer review and development in science: an agent-based model," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 113(1), pages 587-607, October.
    19. Matthias Meyer, 2011. "Bibliometrics, Stylized Facts and the Way Ahead: How to Build Good Social Simulation Models of Science?," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 14(4), pages 1-4.
    20. Flavio Lenz-Cesar & Almas Heshmati, 2010. "Agent-based Simulation of Cooperative Innovation," TEMEP Discussion Papers 201052, Seoul National University; Technology Management, Economics, and Policy Program (TEMEP), revised Jan 2010.
    21. repec:spr:scient:v:102:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1482-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Heshmati, Almas & Lenz-Cesar, Flávio, 2013. "Determinants and Policy Simulation of Firms Cooperation in Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 7487, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    23. repec:spr:scient:v:105:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1630-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Carayol, Nicolas & Dalle, Jean-Michel, 2007. "Sequential problem choice and the reward system in Open Science," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 167-191, June.

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