Big Data in Studies of Science: New Research Field

Big Data in Studies of Science: New Research Field

Guba K.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Head of the Center for Institutional Analysis of Science and Education, European University at Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia

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This article was prepared with support from the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 21-18-00519.

For citation:

Guba K.S. Big Data in Studies of Science: New Research Field. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 6. P. 24-33


The article discusses the unprecedented opportunities of bringing big data for studies of science. Due to the dramatic change in how quickly and in what volumes data can be extracted from open sources, the science of science has been developed offering research of science based on large-scale metadata. The scale of the data is especially valuable for the study of science, which is characterized by a high level of stratification and segmentation. In turn, the techniques of network and computational text analysis have influenced how research questions were proposed. These new tools declare far-reaching implications for the science of science because researchers have the possibility to employ a flexible approach and refuse to rely on pre-defined categories, as was common for previous studies in the sociology of science. New opportunities in data collection and analysis have attracted researchers from diverse scientific fields. The result is the application of new conceptual models that are no longer limited to sociological conceptualizations.

sociology of science; big data; scientometrics; science


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Content No 6, 2021