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Scientometrics

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 1695–1709 | Cite as

The research space: using career paths to predict the evolution of the research output of individuals, institutions, and nations

  • Miguel R. Guevara
  • Dominik Hartmann
  • Manuel Aristarán
  • Marcelo Mendoza
  • César A. Hidalgo
Article

Abstract

In recent years scholars have built maps of science by connecting the academic fields that cite each other, are cited together, or that cite a similar literature. But since scholars cannot always publish in the fields they cite, or that cite them, these science maps are only rough proxies for the potential of a scholar, organization, or country, to enter a new academic field. Here we use a large dataset of scholarly publications disambiguated at the individual level to create a map of science—or research space—where links connect pairs of fields based on the probability that an individual has published in both of them. We find that the research space is a significantly more accurate predictor of the fields that individuals and organizations will enter in the future than citation based science maps. At the country level, however, the research space and citations based science maps are equally accurate. These findings show that data on career trajectories—the set of fields that individuals have previously published in—provide more accurate predictors of future research output for more focalized units—such as individuals or organizations—than citation based science maps.

Keywords

Maps of science Research policy Innovation policy Career paths Scientograms RCA 

Mathematics Subject Classification

68U35 94A17 05C90 91D30 68R10 

JEL Classification

I230 I280 94A17 

Notes

Acknowledgments

M.G and C.H were supported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT Media Lab Consortia and MIT Chile Seed Fund. M.G was supported by the Universidad de Playa Ancha, Chile (ING01-1516) and the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Chile (PIIC). D.H was supported by the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development: Connecting_EU!—PIOF-GA-2012-328828. M.M was supported by Basal Project FB-0821. C.H was supported by the Metaknowledge Network at the University of Chicago.

Supplementary material

11192_2016_2125_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3696 kb)

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macro Connections, The MIT Media LabMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversidad de Playa AnchaValparaisoChile
  3. 3.Chair for Economics of InnovationUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.Department of InformaticsUniversidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaSantiagoChile

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