Geeking Out Over Science Maps

A few months ago, I covered the First Annual International Conference on the Science of Team Science (SciTS). For a brief description if SciTS, check out the Wiki entry I helped write here. In an even smaller nutshell, SciTS is the study of how science is done collaboratively, by teams of researchers. Funding agencies are particuarly interested in how successful and efficient team science is versus the traditional single-PI, silo-based model. Can basic science discoveries reach a translational stage faster by groups of researchers working together, or will the overarching research effort be thwarted by logistical, geographical, institutional, and personal barriers? The hope is that research in the field of SciTS will lead to an understanding these obstacles and how to overcome them, guidance on the best ways to measure the success of team science, and the development of tools that can help researchers working in teams and the SciTS researchers themselves.

I learned that there are many types of data that are used by SciTS researchers to assess how team research is done – but the method that I totally geeked out over was mapping the relationships between science research groups, by co-authorship on journal articles, or being co-PIs on grants, among other metrics. I guess I’m just a sucker for visual aids – I did end up studying cell signaling, didn’t I? Lots of complicated pretty maps in cell signalling.

Anyway, one of my new favorite sites is Maps of Science. I loved the Disciplinary Posters so much I sent away for one and it’s now proudly adorning my office wall, reminding me of how all scientific endeavor is connected. A friend of mine took my obsession one step further and sent me a link to the site Visual Complexity. Now I am totally done for.

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