There is a wealth of data on academic publications, going back a hundred years or more, and this is now held electronically. Some is freely available, some of the rest can be purchased. There is great commercial interest in the analysis of this data too, as it represents an important output from academics and a marker of the research and innovation process. Bibliometrics is therefore an ideal area for the application of ideas from Complexity and Networks.
I am interested in this data at various levels. It poses interesting questions in terms of theoretical graph analysis. The data is used to look at the performance of researchers or research units such as Universities. Trying to improve these methods is an interesting theoretical problem with immediate practical and commercial applications. So any new ideas can be tested and then applied in the real world. This data can be seen as the best documented footprint of innovation processes in the human society so there are broad and fascinating social science questions which might be studied.
- I have been looking at new ways to analyse citation networks. My thesis is that any network constrained by time (citations always point backwards in time) needs to be analysed with that constraint taken into account. A trivial example is that there is no point using total degree for these networks, in-degree (citation count) and out-degree (length of bibliography) need to be treated separately. Some of these ideas have been developed with James Clough, Jamie Gollings and Tamar Loach the paper Transitive Reduction of Citation Networks [arXiv:1310.8224] with the data used on figshare.com under Transitive Reduction of Citation Networks [DOI 10.6084/m9.figshare.834935].
- Poster entitled Temporal Evolution Of Universal Performance Indicators For Academic Publication presented at ECCS 2012, Brussels, 4th September 2012. This is based on work with N.Hopkins and B.Kaube which appeared as the paper: Universality of Performance Indicators based on Citation and Reference Counts [Scientometrics, 2012, arxiv:1110.3271]. This looks at data from a single institute and from the arXiv electronic repository and finds a log normal shape to the citations to papers published under the same field (defined in different ways) and in the same time span (usually one calendar year), provided one normalises with respect to the average number of citations in each group of papers.
- Paper: Community Structure and Patterns of Scientific Collaboration in Business and Management [Scientometrics, 2011, 89, 381-396, arxiv:1006.1788] with Renaud Lambiotte (now Univ. Namur) and Pietro Panzarasa (School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London). Looks at data from UK REF publications in field of Business and Management studies to see how academic collaborate.
- Talk: Scaling and Citations given at the EPSRC Workshop on Scaling in Social Systems Saïd Business School, Oxford, 1st December 2011.
- With Karen Gurney of Evidence (a division of ThomsonReuters) and Daniel Hook of Symplectic Ltd, Imperial College and Washington University, St. Louis, USA, we have a poster from the INORMS conference entitled “Collaboration Profiling in UK Higher Education“
- I have longer term contact with Symplectic Ltd who produce software making day-to-day information management easier for leading academic institutions across the world. Managing academic publications is an important part of their work. Symplectic are now part of the Digital Science division of Macmillan Publishing, and have also had good discussions with with several people there involved in many other interesting projects such as altmetric.com and figshare.