Iteration II (2006): The Power of Reference Systems

Four Existing Reference Systems





Six Science Reference Systems







The second iteration aims to inspire discussion about a common reference system for all of humanity’s scholarly knowledge.

Throughout history, scientists have struggled to reach agreement upon standardized reference systems for their respective fields of research. The results include the electromagnetic spectrum, the periodic table of elements, geographic projections, and the celestial reference systems, all of which appear in this iteration. These standards are invaluable for indexing, storing, accessing, and managing scientific data efficiently.

Shown in comparison are six potential reference systems for scholarly knowledge. Each reference system—from the one-dimensional timeline, to the geospatial system, to the semantic system—could be used to identify the location of an author, paper, patent, or grant. This would highlight the dynamics of an author’s, institution’s, or country’s contributions or the impact of a particular work.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.