Question: studies on the size of scientific spec ialties?

Garfield, Eugene Garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Mon Feb 23 11:59:29 EST 2004

Dear Steven: The work of Henry Small on co-citation analysis is relevant, I
beleive, to your question. There is a large literature much of which can be
found at:
That file needs to be updated, but it should give you some ideas.

Co-citation analysis was the basis for the identification of research fronts
in numerous studies reported by me, Henry and others like Kate McCain at
Drexel. The size of a research front is not static, but regardless of the
number of citing authors if one accepts the definition as those people who
cite two or more papers or authors or even keywords then you have an
operational definition.

Of course, if one expands the scope of a research front it gradually merges
into a specialty or discipline depending upon how fast the front grows. Best

Eugene Garfield

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven A. Morris [mailto:samorri at OKSTATE.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2004 1:58 PM
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] Question: studies on the size of scientific

Does anyone out there know of any studies that try to measure the size of
"scientific specialties" in terms of either the number of members or the
number of papers?    Kuhn says something like "about 100 members, sometimes
considerably less".  Price, in "Big Science, Little Science", implies that
once a specialty gets to 100 members or so, it becomes untenable as a
community and undergoes fission into smaller communities.  Are there any
studies out there to support this?   I think Crane's book "Invisble
Colleges" implies about the same size range, without discussing size
directly.  Actually, I'm not sure there is a decent definition of "scientify
specialty" out there either, but I'm thinking in terms of a core group that
is focussed on a single narrow problem, that reads each other's papers and
whose members attend the came conferences.


S. Morris

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