Orion produces metrics of scientific progress. One of the first questions we asked was “What’s the right level of analysis?”. We broke it down to (1) time, (2) thematic topics and (3) entities and geography. We opted for country-level indicators that track annual changes. We leveraged MAG’s Fields of Study taxonomy to create a set of topics that are granular enough to make meaningful comparisons and broad enough to capture the diversity of the research topics in the data.
We measure the specialisation of a country in a thematic topic using the Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA). RCA is an index used to quantify the relative advantage or disadvantage of a country at a certain class of products or services. Economists usually use it with trade data.
In Orion, we measure the specialisation of a country in a thematic topic by summing its number of citations on it. Given a topic, a country with an RCA value above 1 is considered relatively specialised in it, while those with an RCA value below 1 are said to have a comparative disadvantage in it.
We measure the research diversity (also called interdisciplinarity) of a country within a thematic topic. For a given topic, we recursively collect all of its children Fields of Study, create a count vector and measure the Shannon-Wiener and Simpson diversity indexes.
We measure the average share of women co-authors of a country for a thematic topic. For a given topic, we first find the share of women in each publication and then average it to create the indicator.