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IDEAS

IDEAS (Interdisciplinary Dynamics in Emerging Areas of Science)

In this project, I am working with Ryan Light (University of Oregon) to examine the characteristics of emerging research fields that are fundamentally interdiciplinary in nature. We draw on published research to examine the structures of coauthorship, citation and semantic networks to identify patterns of cohesion and fragmentation within these fields. In combination, these networks allow us to identify patterns that contribute to (or inhibit) important scientific discoveries. Currently, this project has several inter-related aims.
  • Describe the specific trajectories for a sample of problem-based fields that involve researchers from a variety of disciplines.
  • Formalize the theoretical linkage between interdisciplinary processes and boundary construction/maintenance within those fields.
  • Draw on that theoretical model to identify how actualized trajectories are selections from those possible routes as a more principled way to evaluate "successful" field-level integration.
This project started with a seed project on the journals AIDS and JAIDS (~17k articles combined), and we are now making comparisons between those journals and the full corpus of published HIV/AIDS research (~250k articles). In addition to the AIDS case, we are now furthering the empirical scope of the project to others, including demography, environmental studies/sciences, with potential extensions into obesity research and neuroscience. 

Recently, I have also begun collaborating with Ryan Demmer and Gina Lovasi (Columbia University) on a project of theirs funded by the New York Community Trust. Their aim is to examine policy effectiveness for a variety of chronic disease-related health outcomes. As a preliminary part of that project, I am providing them with a series of citation network analyses on existing research for each of those topics.