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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe general topic of the dissertation is citation network dynamics. I employ two perspectives on the evolution of citation networks in order to extend our understanding of the context of scientific progress. The first two sections develop a general mechanism to predict how papers gain attention and how researchers select literatures for their ongoing research agendas. The first section (Appendix A) introduces the idea that successful papers are able to anticipate future research agendas, and this phenomenon can be monitored through relatively simple citation network dynamics: shifts in literature usage. The second section (Appendix B) proposes a theory of convergence in citation networks to conceptualize knowledge accumulation in the sciences, and continues the discussion on anticipation and scientific impact. Converging literatures are defined as a set of papers, gaining attention simultaneously in some field among forward-looking researchers, which form the backdrop of future novel knowledge claims. The final section (Appendix C) is about the long term evolution of citation networks. Instead of proposing general statements about scientific progress, like the previous sections, I put citation network evolution into a historical perspective. My particular question is how the overall networks structure changed throughout the decades of the postwar period until now. My main concern is how scholarly communication “adapted” to the constant, enormous growth of publications. Were the sciences able to stay integrated despite this pressure of growth, or did they fragment into disparate disciplines and fields? The results show that distances in science decreased, and I identify processes that contributed to this decrease.
Degree ProgramGraduate College