Alex Holcombe's blog

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the rise of neuroscience

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So I knew neuroscience has exploded over the last few decades, but I didn’t know its emergence as a more autonomous discipline is “the biggest structural change in scientific citation patterns over the past decade”. In the authors’ words that follow, they are referring to their figure showing neuroscience emerging as a new citation macro-cluster:

“We also highlight the biggest structural change in scientific citation patterns over the past decade: the transformation of neuroscience from interdisciplinary specialty to a mature and stand-alone discipline, comparable to physics or chemistry, economics or law, molecular biology or medicine. In 2001, 102 neuroscience journals, lead by the Journal of Neuroscience, Neuron, and Nature Neuroscience, are assigned with statistical significance to the field of molecular and cell biology (dark orange, 84 of 102 journals are assigned significantly). Further, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, Psychophysiology, and 33 other journals appear with statistical insignificance in psychology (green, 6 of 36 journals are assigned significantly) and Neurology, Annals of Neurology, Stroke and 77 other journals appear with statistical significance in neurology (blue, 75 of 80 journals are assigned significantly). In 2003, many of these journals remain in molecular and cell biology, but their assignment to this field is no longer significant (light orange, 5 of 102 journals are assigned significantly). The transformation is underway. In 2005, neuroscience first emerges as an independent discipline (red). The journals from molecular biology split off completely from their former field and have merged with neurology and a subset of psychology into the significantly stand-alone field of neuroscience. (In 2006, shown in Fig. S2, the structure reverts to a pattern similar to 2003.) In their citation behavior, neuroscientists have finally cleaved from their traditional disciplines and united to form what is now the fifth largest field in the sciences (after molecular and cell biology, physics, chemistry, and medicine). Although this interdisciplinary integration has been ongoing since the 1950s [17], only in the last decade has this change come to dominate the citation structure of the field and overwhelm the intellectual ties along traditional departmental lines.”

Rosvall, M., & Bergstrom, C. (2010). Mapping Change in Large Networks PLoS ONE, 5 (1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008694

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Written by alexholcombe

February 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm

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  1. [...] Change in Large Networks was recently covered by Alex Holcombe and Culturing [...]

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