Mapping Academia

A fascinating map of academia has been constructed by co-citation analysis:


It makes a lot of sense of vague intuitions I have had about which sort of fields are related to what other fields.  Economics is off on the left corner, cosmology is the top corner, and computer science hangs out between the two.   And the stuff I find really boring is far away from that side. 

I’ve ordered a printed version.  I’d love to see where my papers sit in this space, and how the space has changed over the decades. 

My main complaint: They arbitrarily included only “science” publications.  So not only can’t I see how economics relates to philosophy or literary criticism, they’ve foregone our best chance to define “science” in a practical way.  It is famously hard to offer a coherent definition for what are “scientific” fields.  But if we could see on a graph like this that “science” topics were clustered away from the rest, that would give us the best definition of “science” we are likely to get.

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  • Sean

    Dude, you find biology to be boring??

  • Robin Hanson

    Sean, the sort of big concept biology I like tends to be located over near the areas I like, which is another reason the map makes sense.

  • Barkley Rosser

    Well, the links to physics in recent years have picked up because of the surge of econophysics, which appears mostly in physics journals such as Physica A and Physical Review Letters E and the European Physical Journal B, not to mention Nature, although as they are actually on economics topics, it is not clear where they would fit in this space.

    The links to medicine are obviously coming through health economics, a big field. There is lit on evolutionary economics and ecological economics that might link to biology and earth science, but that does not seem to be a big link in this picture.

  • Amara

    Hi Robin, If you are interested to discuss a related topic in another forum, Sabine has taken an interest in your “Could Gambling Save Science” paper.

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