Map of science image opens Nature feature

The December issue of the journal Nature started its pictorial yearly review with collaborative work by Kevin Boyack, Dick Klavans and i|e founder W. Bradford Paley. This same image, at its true (readable) 42" x 43" size, can currently be viewed in person as part of the exhibition Places & Spaces: Mapping Science at the New York Hall of Science.

A description of the "feather boa" label layout algorithm (yes, those tiny lines are text), how it is used, and some related work is posted at Mr. Paley's site.

As to what the image depicts, it was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 scientific papers (shown as white dots) into 776 different scientific paradigms (red circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Links (curved lines) were made between the paradigms that shared common members, then treated as rubber bands, holding similar paradigms nearer one another when a physical simulation had every paradigm repel every other: thus the layout derives directly from the data. Larger paradigms have more papers. Labels list common words unique to each paradigm.

Research and node layout by Kevin Boyack and Dick Klavans; data from Thompson ISI; graphics & typography by W. Bradford Paley. Commissioned and partially supported by Katy Borner and the Places and Spaces: Mapping Science exhibition.

Copyright (c) 2006 W. Bradford Paley, all rights reserved. (But you may print a version for personal use, and optionally donate to i|e or Places & Spaces if you want to be a good infosphere citizen.)