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Toward a consensus map of science



A consensus map of science is generated from an analysis of 20 existing maps of science. These 20 maps occur in three basic forms: hierarchical, centric, and noncentric (or circular). The consensus map, generated from consensus edges that occur in at least half of the input maps, emerges in a circular form. The ordering of areas is as follows: mathematics is (arbitrarily) placed at the top of the circle, and is followed clockwise by physics, physical chemistry, engineering, chemistry, earth sciences, biology, biochemistry, infectious diseases, medicine, health services, brain research, psychology, humanities, social sciences, and computer science. The link between computer science and mathematics completes the circle. If the lowest weighted edges are pruned from this consensus circular map, a hierarchical map stretching from mathematics to social sciences results. The circular map of science is found to have a high level of correspondence with the 20 existing maps, and has a variety of advantages over hierarchical and centric forms. A one-dimensional Riemannian version of the consensus map is also proposed.