Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Project: EC | WIDE (742545), EC | WIDE (742545)
AbstractScientific writings, as one essential part of human culture, have evolved over centuries into their current form. Knowing how scientific writings evolved is particularly helpful in understanding how trends in scientific culture developed. It also allows us to better understand how scientific culture was interwoven with human culture generally. The availability of massive digitized texts and the progress in computational technologies today provide us with a convenient and credible way to discern the evolutionary patterns in scientific writings by examining the diachronic linguistic changes. The linguistic changes in scientific writings reflect the genre shifts that took place with historical changes in science and scientific writings. This study investigates a general evolutionary linguistic pattern in scientific writings. It does so by merging two credible computational methods: relative entropy; word-embedding concreteness and imageability. It thus creates a novel quantitative methodology and applies this to the examination of diachronic changes in the Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society (PTRS, 1665–1869). The data from two computational approaches can be well mapped to support the argument that this journal followed the evolutionary trend of increasing professionalization and specialization. But it also shows that language use in this journal was greatly influenced by historical events and other socio-cultural factors. This study, as a “culturomic” approach, demonstrates that the linguistic evolutionary patterns in scientific discourse have been interrupted by external factors even though this scientific discourse would likely have cumulatively developed into a professional and specialized genre. The approaches proposed by this study can make a great contribution to full-text analysis in scientometrics.
This bibliometric analysis focuses on the general history of climate change research and, more specifically, on the discovery of the greenhouse effect. First, the Reference Publication Year Spectroscopy (RPYS) is applied to a large publication set on climate change of 222,060 papers published between 1980 and 2014. The references cited therein were extracted and analyzed with regard to publications, which are cited most frequently. Second, a new method for establishing a more subject-specific publication set for applying RPYS (based on the co-citations of a marker reference) is proposed (RPYS-CO). The RPYS of the climate change literature focuses on the history of climate change research in total. We identified 35 highly-cited publications across all disciplines, which include fundamental early scientific works of the 19th century (with a weak connection to climate change) and some cornerstones of science with a stronger connection to climate change. By using the Arrhenius (1896) paper as a RPYS-CO marker paper, we selected only publications specifically discussing the discovery of the greenhouse effect and the role of carbon dioxide. Also, we focused on the time period 1800-1850 to reveal the contributions of J.B.J Fourier in terms of cited references. Using different RPYS approaches in this study, we were able to identify the complete range of works of the celebrated icons as well as many less known works relevant for the history of climate change research. The analyses confirmed the potential of the RPYS method for historical studies: Seminal papers are detected on the basis of the references cited by the overall community without any further assumptions. Comment: in press at Scientometrics