Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

The relationships between different scientific disciplines shown as a paradigm map

June 29th, 2007

I really enjoyed this visualisation of a topic map of science, especially the apparent links between Computer Science and Social Science – so much so I ordered a print, and framed it.
Science Paradigm Map
So what is this … well it’s a map that shows the 800k papers that were most highly co-cited by papers published in 2003. In the paradigm map the clusters are the reference points in science upon which current science is being built.
I’ve read from the authors that “Maths” is not as prominent as might be expected because the culture in math is different than the culture in other sciences in that math papers have far fewer references, thus lower co-citation rates and is also spread throughout the CS and engineering regions, especially where algorithms are used to solve engineering problems.
While I understand and quickly see that the map is hard to read, there are too many overlaps & text paths that bump over each other and that certain paths are too choppy, this has to be taken as an “art/science” illustrations, a tool that evokes interest in the area more so than helping to explain the phenomena that are supposed to be the science subjects.
A large version of the map can be seen on this link
Related to this topic but not related with the orginal authors is this piece on the 6 Degrees of Computer Science. The connections to Software Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering and Math / Physics, I think are well thought out.