A generative model for scientific concept hierarchies
Srayan Datta and Eytan Adar

In many scientific disciplines, each new ‘product’ of research (method, finding, artifact, etc.) is often built upon previous findings–leading to extension and branching of scientific concepts over time. We aim to understand the evolution of scientific concepts by placing them in phylogenetic hierarchies where scientific keyphrases from a large, longitudinal academic corpora are used as a proxy of scientific concepts. These hierarchies exhibit various important properties, including power-law degree distribution, power-law component size distribution, existence of a giant component and less probability of extending an older concept. We present a generative model based on preferential attachment to simulate the graphical and temporal properties of these hierarchies which helps us understand the underlying process behind scientific concept evolution and may be useful in simulating and predicting scientific evolution.

Local copy: PDF, (5.3Mb), PLoS One 13(2): e0193331, February 23, 2018.