, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 1-14

First online:

Scientometrics of big science: a case study of research in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

  • Jian ZhangAffiliated withCollege of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University Email author 
  • , Michael S. VogeleyAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Drexel University
  • , Chaomei ChenAffiliated withCollege of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University

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Large-scale scientific projects have become a major impetus of scientific advances. But few studies have specifically analyzed how those projects bolster scientific research. We address this question from a scientometrics perspective. By analyzing the bibliographic records of papers relevant to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), we found that the SDSS helped scientists from many countries further develop their own research; investigators initially formed large research groups to tackle key problems, while later papers involved fewer authors; and the number of research topics increased but the diversity of topics remains stable. Furthermore, the entropy analysis method has proven valuable in terms of analyzing patterns of research topics at a macroscopic level.


Bibliometric Entropy analysis Publication analysis Sloan Digital Sky Survey Large-scale scientific project