Complex Network Visualisation for the History of Interdisciplinarity: Mapping Research Funding in Switzerland

Abstract : In Switzerland, the panorama of scientific research is deemed to be deeply affected by language barriers and strong local academic identities. Is this impression confirmed by data on research projects? What are the factors that best explain the structure of scientific collaborations over the last forty years? Do linguistic regions (Switzerland is divided into three principals) or local academic logics really have an impact onto the mapping of research collaborations and to what extend are they embedded in disciplinary, historical and generational logics? We focus on the very large database of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the principal research funding agency in Switzerland, which lists all the 62,000 projects funded between 1975 and 2015. While scientometric studies generally focus on measuring work – and financial – performance, we aim to raise awareness on pursuing a socio-history analyse of Swiss academic circles by crossing the SNSF data with a prosopographic database of all Swiss university professors in the twentieth century provided by the Swiss Elite Observatory (OBELIS). Beyond the interest for the history of science and universities, we explore the noteworthy technical challenge of a network analysis of nearly 88,000 researchers and more than a million of collaborations. By combining those two databases, we measure the temporality and spatiality of academic collaborations, i.e. to define a way to deal with the volume of information in order to provide not only a global vision but also to enable a fine processing of personal trajectories.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01521159
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Martin Grandjean, Pierre Benz, Thierry Rossier. Complex Network Visualisation for the History of Interdisciplinarity: Mapping Research Funding in Switzerland. Digital Humanities 2017, 2017, Montreal, Canada. 2017. 〈halshs-01521159〉

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