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> One reason that physicists like Barabasi are so excited about
> the "new"
> science of networks is that it holds out the promise for
> general laws of networks that would apply across all kinds of
> networks. Those studying organizational networks have argued
> for some time that this quest for general laws may be
> misguided. Still, I for one say let's not dampen the
> physicists enthusiasm just yet. Even if their quest for
> universal laws of networks proves unattainable, they are sure
> to throw up marvelous insights along the way.
If such general laws would exist, they would inform us about the general
(and probably formal) properties of such networks. The interesting part
might then be where the networks which one studies deviate from these
expectations for substantive reasons, wouldn't it?
For example, in a study on citation distributions of journals we found that
the hooked part of the "negative powerlaw" which deviates from the
logarithmic fit contains the set of journals which are intellectually
organized in terms of disciplines and specialties. The loglinear part of the
distribution shows the large tail of citations in journals outside the
respective specialties (at http://www.leydesdorff.net/log05 ) Usually, we
study these distributions for improving our substantive understanding.
With kind regards,
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681
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