Visualizing Collaboration

April 16, 2018

Dr. Michael Burnam-Fink will discuss methods to analyze patterns of coauthorship and co-citation in grants, and methods for studying patterns of interdisciplinary collaboration. His lecture is part of the Department of Engineering and Society's Distinguished Lecture Series, and will begin at 3:30pm on Thursday, April 19, in Thornton Hall A207 (the Rodman Room).

Abstract: Science is increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary. The average number of authors per paper tripled since 1950 in engineering, natural sciences, and social sciences. Collaboration across disciplines is seen as a way of fostering innovative research and directing blue-sky basic research towards “Pasteur’s Quadrant” of socially relevant scientific and technological problems. These changes in the structure and aims of science require similar changes in scientific training. One such effort to foster innovation in graduate education was the NSF IGERT fellowships, a set of 300 of $3 million 5-year grants currently subsumed in the National Research Traineeship program. These grants provide a natural experiment for studying questions in science policy, such as determining metrics for research quality, and the factors that lead to more successful collaborations. This talk presents a scientrometric analysis of selected IGERT grants, exploring how patterns in coauthorship and co-citation can be used to map and evaluate research groups. I will explain how to collect bibliographic data, how to calculate measures of interdisciplinary integration such as the Rao-Stirling index, and how to produce visual mappings which make it easy to capture relationships at a glance and explore a research group in detail.

Dr. Burnam-Fink, an instructor at Arizona State University, is an interdisciplinary social scientist who studies the interactions between knowledge and power, ideals and responsibilities. He holds a PhD in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology. His work examines the relationship between knowledge and power in the context of 21st century science and technology. Michael was a Breakthrough Institute Breakthrough Generation Fellow and NSF IGERT Fellow. He currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina.