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A bibliometric analysis of the interdisciplinary field of cultural evolution

Mason Youngblood () and David Lahti
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Mason Youngblood: City University of New York
David Lahti: City University of New York

Palgrave Communications, 2018, vol. 4, issue 1, 1-9

Abstract: Abstract The science of cultural evolution is unified in its application of evolutionary logic to socially transmitted behavior, but diverse in methodologies and assumptions. Qualitative reviews have encouraged integration by illuminating points of divergence and fostering interaction. This effort would be greatly enhanced by quantitative data on patterns of collaboration and idea sharing in the literature. In the present study, we apply a novel combination of network, cluster, and bibliometric analyses to an extensive dataset of publications on cultural evolution, in order to represent the structure of the field and evaluate the level of disciplinary integration. We first construct a co-authorship network and identify subdisciplines. We then use bibliometric analyses to describe each subdiscipline and investigate trends in collaboration and productivity. Lastly, we assess the topographical distance and degree of citation sharing between subdisciplines, as well as the diversity of subject categories within subdisciplines. Our results reveal an increase in productivity and collaboration over time, albeit a higher inequality in author productivity than expected. Our structural approach reveals research subcommunities with differential levels of integration, citation sharing, and subject diversity. These findings confirm the emergence of a vigorous interdisciplinary field, and indicate ways to foster integration and synthesis in cultural evolution.

Date: 2018
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