Laubichler Manfred D.
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PreprintQuantitative perspectives on fifty years of the Journal of the History of Biology( 2017-10) Peirson, Erick ; Bottino, Erin ; Damerow, Julia L. ; Laubichler, Manfred D.Journal of the History of Biology provides a fifty-year long record for examining the evolution of the history of biology as a scholarly discipline. In this paper, we present a new dataset and preliminary quantitative analysis of the thematic content of JHB from the perspectives of geography, organisms, and thematic fields. The geographic diversity of authors whose work appears in JHB has increased steadily since 1968, but the geographic coverage of the content of JHB articles remains strongly lopsided toward the United States, United Kingdom, and western Europe and has diversified much less dramatically over time. The taxonomic diversity of organisms discussed in JHB increased steadily between 1968 and the late 1990s but declined in later years, mirroring broader patterns of diversification previously reported in the biomedical research literature. Finally, we used a combination of topic modeling and nonlinear dimensionality reduction techniques to develop a model of multi-article fields within JHB. We found evidence for directional changes in the representation of fields on multiple scales. The diversity of JHB with regard to the representation of thematic fields has increased overall, with most of that diversification occurring in recent years. Drawing on the dataset generated in the course of this analysis, as well as web services in the emerging digital history and philosophy of science ecosystem, we have developed an interactive web platform for exploring the content of JHB, and we provide a brief overview of the platform in this article. As a whole, the data and analyses presented here provide a starting-place for further critical reflection on the evolution of the history of biology over the past half-century.
ArticleExtended evolution : a conceptual framework for integrating regulatory networks and niche construction(John Wiley & Sons, 2015-06-11) Laubichler, Manfred D. ; Renn, JurgenThis paper introduces a conceptual framework for the evolution of complex systems based on the integration of regulatory network and niche construction theories. It is designed to apply equally to cases of biological, social and cultural evolution. Within the conceptual framework we focus especially on the transformation of complex networks through the linked processes of externalization and internalization of causal factors between regulatory networks and their corresponding niches and argue that these are an important part of evolutionary explanations. This conceptual framework extends previous evolutionary models and focuses on several challenges, such as the path-dependent nature of evolutionary change, the dynamics of evolutionary innovation and the expansion of inheritance systems.
ArticleIntroduction(University of Chicago Press, 2019-09) Gibson, Abraham ; Laubichler, Manfred D. ; Maienschein, JaneDigital technologies have transformed both the historical record and the historical profession. This Focus section examines how computational methods have influenced, and will influence, the history of science. The essays discuss the new types of questions and narratives that computational methods enable and the need for better data management in the history and philosophy of science (HPS) community. They showcase various methodological approaches, including textual and network analyses, and they place the computational turn in historiographical and societal context. Rather than surrendering to either technophilia or technophobia, the essays articulate both the benefits and the drawbacks of computational HPS. They agree that the future of the field depends on the successful integration of technological developments, social practices, and infrastructural support and that historians of science must learn to embrace collaboration both within and beyond disciplinary boundaries.
ArticleComputational history of knowledge: Challenges and opportunities(University of Chicago Press, 2019-09) Laubichler, Manfred D. ; Maienschein, Jane ; Renn, JurgenSo far, the twenty-first century has been defined by an ever-increasing availability of digital data and substantial advances in computational methods. Taken together, these developments have already affected all aspects of our lives, including the ways research in the sciences and the humanities is conducted. This computational turn is often viewed with unease. But as this essay argues, it also offers exciting new perspectives for the history of knowledge. Rather than fighting these trends, the essay suggests, by embracing new possibilities and actively participating in the development of new computational methodologies the history of knowledge can act as a bridge between the world of the humanities, with its tradition of close reading and detailed understanding of individual cases, and the world of big data and computational analysis. We can gain novel perspectives on the evolution of knowledge that are both detailed and broad.