, Volume 102, Issue 3, pp 1987–1996 | Cite as

Philosophy of science viewed through the lense of “Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy” (RPYS)

  • K. Brad Wray
  • Lutz Bornmann


We examine the sub-field of philosophy of science using a new method developed in information science, Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy (RPYS). RPYS allows us to identify peak years in citations in a field, which promises to help scholars identify the key contributions to a field, and revolutionary discoveries in a field. We discovered that philosophy of science, a sub-field in the humanities, differs significantly from other fields examined with this method. Books play a more important role in philosophy of science than in the sciences. Further, Einstein’s famous 1905 papers created a citation peak in the philosophy of science literature. But rather than being a contribution to the philosophy of science, their importance lies in the fact that they are revolutionary contributions to physics with important implications for philosophy of science.


Philosophy of science Citation peaks Thomas Kuhn Albert Einstein Karl Popper Logical empiricism 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyState University of New York, OswegoOswegoUSA
  2. 2.Division for Science and Innovation StudiesAdministrative Headquarters of the Max Planck SocietyMunichGermany

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