Two CNetS teams were awarded prestigious awards from Minerva, a research initiative of the Department of Defense that supports basic social science research focusing on topics of particular relevance to U.S. national security. One of the two awards will develop Science Genome, a new quantitative framework to investigate science of science using representation learning and graph embedding. The $4.4M project will take advantage of the availability of digitized bibliographic data sets and powerful computational methods, such as machine learning with deep neural networks, to tap into hidden information present in complex scholarly graphs. The project is led by YY Ahn and also includes Staša Milojević, Alessandro Flammini, and Fil Menczer (more…). The other award aims to understand the fundamental laws ruling science dynamics: the description and prediction of the evolution of scientific fields, how to define and measure the novelty of a scientific work, how to assemble successful teams to solve a specific task, and how to define and measure the impact of scholars’ research. The $5M project is led by a consortium of seven prominent science of science experts in four US institutions, including CNetS professor Santo Fortunato (more…). Both projects have potential applications in policy-making, for institutions and funding agencies.
A new paper published in Nature Reviews Physics by Professor Santo Fortunato and colleagues from Northwestern University features a detailed analysis of the careers of Nobel Prize Laureates. They found that the prize- winning works in the three main science categories (physics, chemistry and medicine) tend to occur early in the career of the Laureate.
This may be due to a selection effect — because the Nobel Prize in science has never been awarded posthumously, those who produced groundbreaking works early on in their careers were more likely to wait long enough to be recognized. Also, award-winning papers tend to be produced by small teams, on average. Apart from the prize-winning work, which may be subject to peculiarities of the Nobel, there is no known major difference that distinguishes patterns governing the careers of scientific elites from those of ordinary scientists.