Mapping Three Decades of Intellectual Change in Academia

04/02/2020 ∙ by Daniel Ramage, et al. ∙ 0

Research on the development of science has focused on the creation of multidisciplinary teams. However, while this coming together of people is symmetrical, the ideas, methods, and vocabulary of science have a directional flow. We present a statistical model of the text of dissertation abstracts from 1980 to 2010, revealing for the first time the large-scale flow of language across fields. Results of the analysis include identifying methodological fields that export broadly, emerging topical fields that borrow heavily and expand, and old topical fields that grow insular and retract. Particular findings show a growing split between molecular and ecological forms of biology and a sea change in the humanities and social sciences driven by the rise of gender and ethnic studies.

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