Insights Are in Cite: Tracking Science’s Hottest and Emerging Fields


Reuters/Scott Audette

These days, with scientific knowledge proliferating so rapidly and in such a seemingly undifferentiated torrent, how can one hope to mark the genesis of new areas of specialized investigation? Is it possible to ascertain when an offshoot or tangent from established research attains critical mass, becoming a tightly focused, discrete area unto itself? And is there a means for charting the evolution of these new subfields, for gauging their growth and their connections to other areas, and discerning when they themselves are subsumed by other subfields or, perhaps, split off into even newer areas?

At the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the answers, as always, rest with the scientists themselves — or, more specifically, the ways in which scientists read and footnote the work of their peers. These acknowledgements of significance and influence — citations — as tracked in the Web of Science, provide a powerful tool for determining the structure and dynamics of scientific research. When studied in aggregate via automated analysis, citations reveal science itself as a network — a constellation of interconnected clusters or nodes, each indicating a specific area of investigation, and each formed by citation links. These —> Read More Here


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