In a new review paper in Science, an international group of researchers advocates for what they're calling SciSci — the science of science.
"The science of science (SciSci) is based on a transdisciplinary approach that uses large data sets to study the mechanisms underlying the doing of science — from the choice of a research problem to career trajectories and progress within a field," the authors write. "The underlying rationale is that with a deeper understanding of the precursors of impactful science, it will be possible to develop systems and policies that improve each scientist's ability to succeed and enhance the prospects of science as a whole."
SciSci offers a quantitative understanding of the interactions among "scientific agents" across geography and time, and provides insight into the specific conditions that went into certain discoveries, they posit. The goal is to develop tools and policies that have the potential to accelerate science.
"In the past decade, SciSci has benefited from an influx of natural, computational, and social scientists who together have developed big data–based capabilities for empirical analysis and generative modeling that capture the unfolding of science, its institutions, and its workforce. The value proposition of SciSci is that with a deeper understanding of the factors that drive successful science, we can more effectively address environmental, societal, and technological problems," they write.