Analyzing Knowledge Communities Using Foreground and Background Clusters

Phineas UphamVasileios Kandylas, and Lyle Ungar, Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: Insight into the growth (or shrinkage) of “knowledge communities” of authors that build on each other’s work can be gained by studying the evolution over time of clusters of documents. We cluster documents based on the documents they cite in common using the Streemer clustering method, which finds cohesive foreground clusters (the knowledge communities) embedded in a diffuse background. We build predictive models with features based on the citation structure, the vocabulary of the papers, and the affiliations and prestige of the authors and use these models to study the drivers of community growth and the predictors of how widely a paper will be cited. We find that scientific knowledge communities tend to grow more rapidly if their publications build on diverse information and use narrow vocabulary and that papers that lie on the periphery of a community have the highest impact, while those not in any community have the lowest impact.