2012 Annual Science Report
University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting | SEP 2011 – AUG 2012
Measuring Interdisciplinarity Within Astrobiology Research
To integrate the work of the diverse scientists working on astrobiology, we have harvested and analyzed thousands of astrobiology documents to reveal areas of potential connection. This framework allows us to identify crossover documents that guide scientists quickly across vast interdisciplinary libraries, suggest productive interdisciplinary collaborations, and provide a metric of interdisciplinary science.
AIRFrame analyzes published and unpublished documents to identify and visualize implicit relationships between astrobiology’s diverse constituent fields. The main goals of AIRFrame are to allow researchers and the public to discover related information from different disciplines, and to provide a metric of interdisciplinary science.
During the reporting period, AIRFrame has evolved from a conceptual system to a modular suite of tools, methods and technologies designed to represent researcher output accurately, integrate documents from diverse sources, and triangulate best practices. We modeled the output of astrobiology researchers primarily in two ways: by analyzing the full text of annual reports and publications from each NAI team, and by representing the publications of a single team (UHNAI) by both the abstracts of published articles, and the abstracts of the papers they cite. Our initial results suggest that a balance of both approaches can be used to identify crossover documents, potential collaborations between researchers, and to provide a metric of interdisciplinarity at the level of an NAI team, a scientist and an individual paper. Refining these results will allow us to evaluate the extent to which NAI goals and sub-goals from the Astrobiology Roadmap are being addressed by NAI research output. We have also investigated the public perception of astrobiology in social media, to inform public outreach and to create new connections between astrobiology and computer science.
PROJECT MEMBERS:Rich Gazan
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.1
Formation and evolution of habitable planets.
Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets.
Outer Solar System exploration
Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts
Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules
Origins of energy transduction
Origins of cellularity and protobiological systems
Earth's early biosphere.
Production of complex life.
Effects of extraterrestrial events upon the biosphere
Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms
Co-evolution of microbial communities
Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments
Effects of environmental changes on microbial ecosystems
Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth
Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials
Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems