P. della Briotta Parolo – Scientific Snowballs

Pietro della Briotta Parolo (Aalto)

Monday 2016-12-12 11.00 – 12.00

Lecture hall AS3, TUAS building

Scientific Snowballs


Our idea is to analyze the spread of scientific ideas coming from a certain field/subfield in time following the chain of citations that follow the initial publications. The basic case study is based on initializing a set N of papers from a certain field/subfield/journal and year and assigning to each an initial scientific value,which can be initialized either equally (i.e. 1/N for each) or based on the citations each paper received (more value to more influential papers). Then we proceed to push the initial value through the network until the desired year is reached. This is done by organizing the network in topological order and looping through the ordered network, thus making sure the values are always pushed forward. Similarly to the initialization of value, the pushing can be performed either equally (each child paper receives an equal amount of value) or based on citations (each child papers gets value proportionally to its number of citations). At the end of the pushing, the value is gathered from paper level to field/subfield/journal level.

The initial results show that all fields follow a similar behavior, retaining most of their scientific value, but losing it quickly in the first years and more gradually as time goes by, eventually reaching a plateau. On the other hand the distribution of values within the field seems to keep the same distribution of value across it subfields. The next step is to quantify the rate of loss of value within a field and try to compare the value loss across fields and time.