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Tracing the evolution of physics with a keyword co-occurrence network

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Abstract

Describing the evolution of science is a salient work not only for revealing the scientific trend but also for establishing a scientific classification system. In this paper, we investigate the evolution of science by observing the structure of and the change on keyword co-occurrence networks. Starting from seven target physics fields and their initial keywords selected by experts from the Korean Physical Society, we generate keyword co-occurrence networks to capture better topological structure with our proposed approach. In this way, we can construct a more relevant and abundant keyword network from a small set of initial keywords. With these networks, we successfully identify the scientific sub-field by detecting communities and extracting core keywords of each community. Furthermore, we use a time-snapshot keyword network to trace the temporal evolution of sub-fields, and the resultant temporal change of the community membership explains the evolution of the research field well. Our approach for tracing the evolution of a research field with a keyword co-occurrence network can shed light on identifying and assessing the evolution of science.

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Acknowledgements

This work was motivated by a research project on the classification of topics in physics, which was done by the Korean Physical Society and supported by the National Research Foundation. This research was supported by the MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT), Korea, under the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) support program (IITP-2020-2018-0-01441) supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation) and partly by an IITP grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No.2019-0-01906, Artificial Intelligence Graduate School Program (POSTECH)).

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Correspondence to Woo-Sung Jung.

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You, T., Yoon, J., Kwon, OH. et al. Tracing the evolution of physics with a keyword co-occurrence network. J. Korean Phys. Soc. 78, 236–243 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40042-020-00051-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40042-020-00051-5

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