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Concerning Networks, Scholarship, and Citations...

As a student of a multidisciplinary field--public affairs--I am interested
in this idea being discussed that people widely cross-check other fields for
sources.  It is plain that in "my field" things are published that are
rehashings of other work in Anthropology, Sociology, Organizational Science,
Economics, Psychology, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, etc. (etc.)  In many
respects we consider this a service.  The literature review (for its own
sake) is still esteemed in some fields.

I have just phoned a friend who is builds bioinformatics simulation tools of
molecular interactions--he laughed when I asked the question.  He said
glibly that there extensive and continual overlap especially on matters that
are not of the first importance.  For him, computer science, biology,
physics, and general journals.  He said only specialization limits the issue
because no editor(s) can be broadly current.  Sample of 1, but his assurance
(and reputation) gave me some confidence.   He suggested that few check more
than a handful of journals on a regular basis.  If you are interested in P53
mutations, you'd expect to find them in Cell or whatever, but others might
be publishing in Dermatology journals because of their relevance to
melanoma, for instance.  It isn't always clear, and few databases are so

I studied with great interest lately Loet Leydesdorff's beautiful and
interesting study on citations noted here.  I kept wondering about
boundaries and boundary conditions.  Why this journal or that as opposed to
others I might have mentioned in the same fields?  Surely the network is the
citations, but what about the possible networks that cover similar ground
but in different, overlapping journals, or in different, overlapping fields?
Linton Freeman's recent sociology of science history of networks called The
Development of Social Network Analysis (2004) made claims that social
network citations share similarities with other "sciences."  This was very
interesting to me, and I am sure it would be of interest to a philosopher
like Ian Hacking, but I am not sure what it meant.  What would a philosopher
of science make of the claim that the way citations work can describe a

It would not occur to most network scientists to review literature in, say,
Public Administration Review.  However, there has been relatively recent
work by people like Larry O'Toole that would be of interest to many on this
list--many but not all.  Do any databases sweep across topics like Sociology
and Physics--and if not, why not?  I'm sure many have the diligence and
integrity to do this regardless, but when does one know when to stop?

In general we rely on leaders.  On social capital you will find thousands
(literally) of current publications but you start with the guy at Harvard
(Putnam) or the guy at Johns Hopkins (Fukuyama) or the guy at Chicago
(Coleman, etc.) or the big European guy (Bourdieu) and you chase from there.
Most citations in the sciences cite US journal articles I am told.  Is the
US that dominate in science or is it merely easier to find our leaders
because the institutions are known to all including inward looking American

I doubt that people are merely avoiding searching far-off fields for some
insidious reason.   My guess is that they have no linkage and few criteria
to expect linkage.  I can imagine a 22 y.o. physics grad student studying
networks to look at computer science, but what would motivate her to
consider sociology?  There is something about the way networks stop that is
going on here.

Ryan Lanham

> Behalf Of Scott, John
> If I were to come up with the idea that familiar theories from sociology
> could illuminate problems in physics, the first thing I would do would
> be a literature search to see if anybody, in physics or elsewhere, had
> already worked on the issue. Physicists who followed the same strategy
> when they wished to contribute something to social analysis, might find
> that they would be welcomed more warmly by their social science
> colleagues.

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