Towards an explanatory and computational theory of scientific discovery

Chen, Chaomei
Chen, Yue
Horowitz, Mark
Hou, Haiyan
Liu, Zeyuan
Pellegrino, Don
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We propose an explanatory and computational theory of transformative discoveries in science. The theory is derived from a recurring theme found in a diverse range of scientific change, scientific discovery, and knowledge diffusion theories in philosophy of science, sociology of science, social network analysis, and information science. The theory extends the concept of structural holes from social networks to a broader range of associative networks found in science studies, especially including networks that reflect underlying intellectual structures such as co-citation networks and collaboration networks. The central premise is that connecting otherwise disparate patches of knowledge is a valuable mechanism of creative thinking in general and transformative scientific discovery in particular.
Comment: 32 pages, 6 figures. Journal of Informetirics, 2009, volume 3 (in press)
Computer Science - General Literature, Computer Science - Computers and Society