Science of Science



Scholarometer is a social tool to facilitate citation analysis and help evaluate the impact of an author’s publications. One of the promises of Web Science is to leverage the wisdom of the crowds to give rise to emergent, bottom-up semantics, by making it easy for users to express relationships between arbitrary kinds of objects. Rather than starting with an ontology that determines the kinds of objects and relationships to be described and reasoned about, the idea is to give users the freedom to annotate arbitrary objects with arbitrary predicates, along with incentives for such annotations. Social tagging systems for images are one example, where the motivation can stem from the wish to organize and share one’s photos or from entertaining games to guess one another’s tags. The Scholarometer project explores a similar approach in the domain of scholarly publications. Scholarometer provides a service to scholars by computing citation-based impact measures. This motivates users to provide disciplinary annotations for authors, which in turn can be used to compute measures that allow to compare authors’ impact across disciplinary boundaries. This crowdsourcing approach can lead to emergent semantic networks to study interdisciplinary annotations and trends. To learn more please visit

Impact metrics

We proposed a method to quantify the disciplinary bias of any scholarly impact metric, and used this method to evaluate a number of established scholarly impact metrics. We introduced a simple universal metric that allows to compare the impact of scholars across scientific disciplines. This metric is now publicly available for scholars via Scholarometer.

We also developed a method to decouple the roles of quantity and quality of publications to explain how a certain level of impact is achieved. The method is based on the generation of a statistical baseline specifically tailored on the academic profile of each researcher. As an illustration, we used it to capture the quality of the work of Nobel laureates irrespective of number of publications, academic age, and discipline, even when traditional metrics indicate low impact in absolute terms. We further applied the methodology to almost a million scholars and over six thousand journals to measure the impact that cannot be explained by the volume of publications alone.

Emergence of fields

The birth and decline of disciplines are critical to science and society. How do scientific disciplines emerge? We developed an agent-based model in which the evolution of disciplines is guided mainly by social interactions among agents representing scientists. Disciplines emerge from splitting and merging of social communities in a collaboration network. We find that this social model can account for a number of stylized facts about the relationships between disciplines, scholars, and publications. These results provide strong quantitative support for the key role of social interactions in shaping the dynamics of science. While several “science of science” theories exist, this is the first account for the emergence of disciplines that is validated on the basis of empirical data.

We are currently exploring signals from coauthorship and citation networks to predict the emergence and decline of scientific fields.

Team members

Project Publications:


Our work on the emergence of fields is supported by US Navy grant N00174-17-1-0007.