“Critical Transitions” and “Avalanches” in Journal-Journal Citation Relations

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“Critical Transitions” and “Avalanches” in Journal-Journal Citation Relations

Type: Article in monograph or in proceedings
Title: “Critical Transitions” and “Avalanches” in Journal-Journal Citation Relations
Author: Leydesdorff L.Wagner C.Bornmann L.
Journal Title: STI 2018 Conference Proceedings
Start Page: 64
End Page: 72
Publisher: Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)
Issue Date: 2018-09-11
Keywords: Scientometrics
Abstract: Using the complete Journal Citation Reports (Science Citation Index, SCI, and Social Sciences Citation Index, SSCI) during the period 1994-2016 as data, we address the question of change and stability in the sciences at the level of the (n2) aggregated citation links between (n) journals. Information theory enables us to study longitudinal developments first at the level of cells and then to aggregate, since the Shannon-formulae are based on using Σs. Micro-developments in the data can thus be related to theorizing about the sciences in terms of distributed change (Price, 1976; cf. Kuhn, 1962). Our results suggest that the dynamics can be explained by considering Bak et al.’s (1987) model of “self-organized criticality”: the knowledge base can be considered as a pile of meta-stable constructs which are continuously disturbed by new knowledge claims bringing also new citation relations. “Avalanches” of variable size can then be expected. The effects, however, are local; the meta-stable regions operate in parallel. The overall system remains tending towards meta-stability—at “the edge of chaos” —because of the ongoing fluxes of new manuscripts creating and rewriting relations in terms of citations at different scales (Zitt et al., 2005).
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/65343

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