Random drift versus selection in academic vocabulary

RA Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of vocabulary in academic publishing is characterized via keyword frequencies recorded in the ISI Web of Science citations database. In four distinct case-studies, evolutionary analysis of keyword frequency change through time is compared to a model of random copying used as the null hypothesis, such that selection may be identified against it. The case studies from the physical sciences indicate greater selection in keyword choice than in the social sciences. Similar evolutionary analyses can be applied to a wide range of phenomena; wherever the popularity of multiple items through time has been recorded, as with web searches, or sales of popular music and books, for example.
Translated title of the contributionRandom drift versus selection in academic vocabulary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e3057
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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