University of Wolverhampton experts are developing new technology to discover how science works by filtering huge amounts of information from the web.
Academics from the University are participating in a £300,000 project with universities in Canada and the USA.
The project will investigate changes in science over time to find out how successful new areas of research evolve.
In particular it will find out where the experts come from that are able to solve new and critical problems in science. For example, computer science emerged after computers were invented, so who were the scientists that built computers, despite not being computing experts?
The partners have received funding from the international Digging into Data Challenge (http://www.diggingintodata.org/), with the UK component provided by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).
The Digging into Data Challenge provides funding to international teams of researchers that develop new methods to analyse huge quantities of data to help solve important problems.
As part of this, the Wolverhampton team will develop computer software to filter the web to discover trends in science. This is particularly challenging as most of the web is not about science, but the Wolverhampton team are international experts at developing web filtering technology.
Professor Mike Thelwall, head of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group in the School of Technology at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “I am delighted that we are being given the opportunity to develop our innovative tools.
“Research is critical to modern societies, driving new technology, helping us to understand and interpret the world, and developing arts and culture. Over time, research changes as new problems are tackled and new solutions found. But how do these changes happen? This project will enable us to investigate changes in science over time to see out how new areas of research emerge.
“Given the very stiff competition for this funding, with only 20% of projects funded, I am very proud that the University of Wolverhampton was successful.”
It is hoped the project will help scientists to work more efficiently in the future with knowledge from the project about how they can be successful in picking and developing new research areas.
The European Commission has awarded a total contribution of £300,000 and of that the University of Wolverhampton will receive £99,776.
The project will run for two years, until January 2014. The effectiveness of the technology will be evaluated by interested stakeholders analysing the findings and by publishing the results in prestigious academic journals.
The project participants are the University of Wolverhampton (UK), the University of Indiana, Bloomington (USA), and the University of Quebec at Montreal (Canada).
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