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Random drift versus selection in academic vocabulary : an evolutionary analysis of published keywords.

Bentley, R.A. (2008) 'Random drift versus selection in academic vocabulary : an evolutionary analysis of published keywords.', PLoS ONE., 3 (8). e3057.

Abstract

The evolution of vocabulary in academic publishing is characterized via keyword frequencies recorded in the ISI Web of Science citations database. In four distinct case-studies, evolutionary analysis of keyword frequency change through time is compared to a model of random copying used as the null hypothesis, such that selection may be identified against it. The case studies from the physical sciences indicate greater selection in keyword choice than in the social sciences. Similar evolutionary analyses can be applied to a wide range of phenomena; wherever the popularity of multiple items through time has been recorded, as with web searches, or sales of popular music and books, for example.

Item Type:Article
Full text:PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
(354Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003057
Publisher statement:Copyright: © 2008 Bentley. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Record Created:25 Jan 2012 14:35
Last Modified:27 Jan 2012 12:58

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