Dr. Freda B. Lynn, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Iowa, successfully obtained a National Science Foundation grant for her project "Biographies of Scientific Ideas: The Diffusion of Knowledge in Medicine and Sociology" with the help of the Iowa Social Science Research Center (ISRC). The ISRC is a resource for interdisciplinary social science researchers to use for grant development support, data collection, data management, and access services in the university community.
Lynn's project will use citation data to examine the "life histories" of published scholarly papers. "Currently, more than a million scholarly articles are published per year," writes Lynn. "How are these journals articles, often the primary unit of scientific research, consumed over time by those who formally engage it?"
Lynn's objectives include "compiling an extensive longitudinal dataset of focal articles and their citation histories and using that data to develop a rigorous, evidence-based understanding of how scientists consume scientific research and thus how ideas diffuse through scientific communities."
The broader impacts that could result in light of this study include valuable historical insights, which can guide the development of metrics that define the value of new ideas brought forward in science each year. It also could possibly aid and support graduate research training through opportunities of scholarly publication and participation in international and national conferences.