Information Technology Reference
The Structure and Dynamics of Scientific
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
In a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675, Isaac Newton made his most famous statement:
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” This statement
is now often quoted to symbolize scientific progress. Robert Merton examined the
origin of this metaphor in his On the Shoulders of Giants (Merton 1965 ). The
shoulders-of-giants metaphor can be traced to the French philosopher Bernard of
Chartres, who said that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can
see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness
of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and
raised up by their giant size.
In a presentation at the Conference on The History and Heritage of Science
Information Systems at Pittsburgh in 1998, Eugene Garfield used “ On the Shoulders
of Giants ” as the title of his tributes to an array of people who had made tremendous
contributions to citation indexing and science mapping, including Robert King
Merton, Derek John de Solla Price (1922-1983), Manfred Kochen (1928-1989),
Henry Small, and many others (Garfield 1998 ). In 1999, Henry Small used On the
Shoulders of Giants to entitle his ASIS Award Speech (Small 1999 ). He explained
that if a citation can be seen as standing on the shoulder of a giant, then co-
citation is straddling the shoulders of two giants, a pyramid of straddled giants
is a specialty, and a pathway through science is playing leapfrog from one giant
to another. Henry Small particularly mentioned Belver Griffith (1931-1999) and
Derek Price as the giants who shared the vision of mapping science with co-citation.
Griffith introduced the idea of using multidimensional scaling to create a spatial
representation of documents. According to Small, the work of Derek Price in
modeling of the research front (Price 1965 ) had a major impact on his thinking.
The goal of this chapter is to introduce some landmark works of giants in
quantitative studies of science, especially groundbreaking theories, techniques, and