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  • 1 Division of Policy Research and Analysis 20550 Washington, D. C. (USA) 20550 Washington, D. C. (USA)
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Derek Price's theory of variation among the sciences stressed that the essential differences lay in the process through which scientists use each other's results. He maintained that the critical processes were those which took place within small groups of scientists who shared an intellectual focus, and proposed that an indication of those processes could be found in referencing patterns. Later research, reviewed in this paper, has corroboratedPrice in these observations. Several bodies of evidence point to the desirability of further application of the basic conceptsPrice introduced for the purpose he proposed: as diagnostic tools to describe and compare processes of knowledge growth in the sciences.