Using text analysis to quantify the similarity and evolution of scientific disciplines

Laercio Dias, Martin Gerlach, Joachim Scharloth, Eduardo G. Altmann

We use an information-theoretic measure of linguistic similarity to investigate the organization and evolution of scientific fields. An analysis of almost 20M papers from the past three decades reveals that the linguistic similarity is related but different from experts and citation-based classifications, leading to an improved view on the organization of science. A temporal analysis of the similarity of fields shows that some fields (e.g., computer science) are becoming increasingly central, but that on average the similarity between pairs has not changed in the last decades. This suggests that tendencies of convergence (e.g., multi-disciplinarity) and divergence (e.g., specialization) of disciplines are in balance.

Knowledge Graph

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