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Can epidemic models describe the diffusion of topics across disciplines?

Kiss, I. Z., Broom, M., Craze, P. G. and Rafols, I. (2010). Can epidemic models describe the diffusion of topics across disciplines?. Journal of Informetrics, 4(1), pp. 74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.joi.2009.08.002

Abstract

This paper introduces a new approach to describe the spread of research topics across disciplines using epidemic models. The approach is based on applying individual-based models from mathematical epidemiology to the diffusion of a research topic over a contact network that represents knowledge flows over the map of science—as obtained from citations between ISI Subject Categories. Using research publications on the protein class kinesin as a case study, we report a better fit between model and empirical data when using the citation-based contact network. Incubation periods on the order of 4–15.5 years support the view that, whilst research topics may grow very quickly, they face difficulties to overcome disciplinary boundaries.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Knowledge diffusion; Epidemic model; Science map
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Mathematics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/974
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