The words that occur in papers published by the journals of an old and prestigious scientific society like the American Statistical Association portray the most relevant research interests of a discipline and the recurrence of words over time show fashions, forgotten topics and new emerging subjects, that is, the history of a discipline at a glance. In this study a set of keywords occurred in the titles of papers published in the period 1888–2012 by the Journal of the American Statistical Association and its predecessors are examined over time in order to retrieve those which appeared in the past and which are today the research fields covered by Statistics, from the viewpoints of both methods and application domains. The existence of a latent temporal pattern in keywords’ occurrences is explored by means of (lexical) correspondence analysis and clusters of keywords portraying similar temporal patterns are identified by functional (textual) data analysis and model-based curve clustering. The analyses reveal a definite time dimension in topics and show that much of the History of Statistics may be gleaned by simply reading the titles of papers through an explorative correspondence analysis. However, the functional approach and model-based curve clustering turn out to be better in tracing and comparing the individual temporal evolution of keywords, despite some computational and theoretical limitations.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 8, 2014
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