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Authoritative data from the Web of Science reveal the dynamics of climate-change research.

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As public discourse has made plain in recent years, the topic of climate change far exceeds the boundaries of science, spilling over into the realms of national and personal politics, economics, and beliefs about the very state of the world itself. But whatever aspect of climate change is being scrutinized, legitimate and tested science must serve as the linchpin in the discussion.

A team based at the University of Melbourne is examining climate-change research from the perspective of management studies, endeavoring to clarify the communicative and evaluative dynamics by which research spreads and diffuses across disciplines.  For a selection of authoritative research on climate change published since 1980, the team turned to Clarivate Analytics and the Web of Science. Based on a list of specific keywords and variants, Clarivate provided a custom database of more than 3,500 papers from the journals Science and Nature.

With these reports, and with the accompanying bibliometric data from Web of Science on cited and citing papers, the researchers were able to track the influence and impact of the published research through time across disciplinary boundaries.  The team has tracked what it calls the “evaluative tournaments” in climate research, as embodied by citation counts and other measures, by which the scientific community imparts value to given work. The team’s observations, as discussed in the attached case study, represent yet another illustration of the power of citation analysis via the Web of Science.