The wonderful web of science

18 03 2007


This is so cool. Seed magazine is highlighting the work of information estheticists (I didn’t know what it was either) Kevin Boyack and Dick Klavens, who looked more than 800,000 scientific journal articles and produced a pictorial representation of how the different scientific paradigms fit together. When there are links between scientific paradigms, they showed these as node, meaning some articles had “cross-over” appeal among different fields. Of course, it makes sense that no science is an island.

The huge cluster of nodes down towards the bottom left are the human sciences ā€” biology, the medical sciences, etc. Social sciences on web of scienceWhat’s more, a point of validation for us soft science types is that the social sciences are a crucial part of the map. Look closely at this close-up of the top left-hand part of the map and you’ll see some terms that will sound familiar to anthropologists, criminologists, and other social scientists. As you’d expect, there are plenty of links to health sciences.

What would be interesting to me would whether you could link the sciences in general to the humanities ā€” presumably through the social sciences’ affinity with things like critical theory and history.

Anyway, the original website is the Map of Science. Check it out for perhaps the coolest front page I’ve ever seen on a science website. One thing that becomes plain is that there is clearly little or no link between the social sciences and chemistry. Seeing as I started my university career studying organic chemistry, before veering wildly off the path, the map makes my eventual stop at social science research even more bewildering.




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