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  • Author or Editor: Marcel Ausloos x
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Social impacts and degrees of organization inherent to opinion formation for interacting agents on networks present interesting questions of general interest from physics to sociology. We present a quantitative analysis of a case implying an evolving small size network, i.e. that inherent to the ongoing debate between modern creationists (most are Intelligent Design (ID) proponents (IDP) and Darwin’s theory of Evolution Defenders (DED)). This study is carried out by analyzing the structural properties of the citation network unfolded in the recent decades by publishing works belonging to members of the two communities. With the aim of capturing the dynamical aspects of the interaction between the IDP and DED groups, we focus on two key quantities, namely, the degree of activity of each group and the corresponding degree of impact on the intellectual community at large. A representative measure of the former is provided by the rate of production of publications (RPP), whilst the latter can be assimilated to the rate of increase in citations (RIC). These quantities are determined, respectively, by the slope of the time series obtained for the number of publications accumulated per year and by the slope of a similar time series obtained for the corresponding citations. The results indicate that in this case, the dynamics can be seen as geared by triggered or damped competition. The network is a specific example of marked heterogeneity in exchange of information activity in and between the communities, particularly demonstrated through the nodes having a high connectivity degree, i.e. opinion leaders.

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This paper introduces a new approach to detecting scientists’ field mobility by focusing on an author’s self-citation network, and the co-authorships and keywords in self-citing articles. Contrary to much previous literature on self-citations, we will show that author’s self-citation patterns reveal important information on the development and emergence of new research topics over time. More specifically, we will discuss self-citations as a means to detect scientists’ field mobility. We introduce a network based definition of field mobility, using the Optimal Percolation Method (Lambiotte & Ausloos, 2005; 2006). The results of the study can be extended to selfcitation networks of groups of authors and, generally also for other types of networks.

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