15 April 2015

Quantum Earth and Paperscape: mapping arXiv

Copyright Roberto Salazar & Sebastian Pizarro

Above is a visualisation of Quantum Earth, a continent consisting of research articles in the field of quantum mechanics. The idea was originally conceived by Roberto Salazar after completing his PhD on quantum information at the University of ConcepciĆ³n in Chile. Roberto teamed up with Sebastian Pizarro a digital designer to bring his idea of a quantum mechanics continent to life. The result was a map reminiscent of Tolkein replete with geographic landmarks such as Teleportation Lake and Quantum Engineering Volcano.


We contacted Roberto for his thoughts on open access:
"I think open access publishing is the way that things should be done in science. That being said, I feel that this will happen only if we improve open access tools for finding the right paper for your research. In this sense I believe that Paperscape is a breakthrough in the field and hope that it will be the first of many more. I use it in my daily research and has been of great help in finding the right paper and saving time (I just love it).
Our little contribution with the "Quantum Earth" map, is to give a graphic idea of how to use Paperscape when you already have an insight in the field. Also the purpose is to give positive publicity to this great idea."

Copyright Damien George and Rob Knegjens. Downloaded here

Paperscape is a project developed by Damien George and Rob Knegjens, two post doctoral researchers who wanted to create a tool to visualise the huge volume of papers in the pre-print repository arXiv. Visually, Paperscape resembles a galaxy made up of over a million stars. Each of the 'stars' represent actual research articles in the arXiv repository. The positions of the articles are determined by references to other articles, and in effect the references act as a gravitational force in the Paperscape galaxy, pulling closely related articles together to form clusters. The way the tool structures the articles makes finding new and highly cited articles much easier as well. This is because highly cited articles appear larger and new articles appear brighter.

Posters of the Paperscape galaxy are freely available to download here in various sizes.
The full size Quantum Earth map can be viewed and downloaded here.

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