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

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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.

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Correspondence to K. Brad Wray.

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Wray, K.B., Bornmann, L. Philosophy of science viewed through the lense of “Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy” (RPYS). Scientometrics 102, 1987–1996 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-014-1465-6

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