Aims and scope
Network Science is an interdisciplinary journal. While we
think of social network analysis, methods, and theory as the
central components of network science, the discipline has
grown well beyond the “social” context. Networks were first
studied quantitatively by behavioral scientists but are now
modeled by many different types of researchers. The
discipline is ready for a comprehensive journal, open to
papers from all relevant areas.This journal aims to give
that diverse community of researchers an outlet to share new
discoveries and talk to one another.
Network science is an interdisciplinary endeavor, with
methods and applications drawn from across the natural,
social, and information sciences. It has a long tradition in
social and behavioral science research, going back to the
1920’s. The founding of the journal Sociometry by (perhaps)
the first quantitative network researcher Jacob Moreno was
an important start in developing and popularizing network
methodology. After the 1940’s, as described in Freeman’s
(2004) history of network analysis, advances were made in a
number of research areas, including sociology, anthropology,
organizational science, and social psychology. Economists
and political scientists now realize that information flows
through networks can be utilized theoretically and
empirically to generate more accurate theories and obtain
better predictive outcomes.
Of course, mathematicians, and more recently statisticians,
have long researched graph theory and greatly influenced
these developments. The massive amounts of data now being
gathered today on people, organizations, or social actors in
general can include fascinating information on social
interactions; such data sets have generated new interests in
networks and network data in the statistics and applied
mathematics world. Classes, workshops, and short courses
abound in the field, as do conferences and special centers
for network studies.
Another dramatic surge in network science occurred in the mid-1990’s as first physicists, then biologists, and more recently, computer scientists saw the relevance of networks within their own disciplines. Here, in the 21st century, with a new understanding and appreciation for the interconnectedness and globalization of the world, along with the growth of the internet and social media, network methods seem an increasingly natural way to research many aspects of modern “society” and the individuals, organizations, cellular processes, and other “social” actors within it. Clearly, it is time for a journal devoted solely to network science, drawing from research in the many disciplines that now utilize the network paradigm.
The new publication will include original research articles, both invited and contributed, and discussions of invited articles (similar to the Journals of the Royal Statistical Society).