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A Historical Analysis of the Field of OR/MS using Topic Models

  • Gatti, Christopher J.
  • Brooks, James D.
  • Nurre, Sarah G.
Publication Date
Oct 17, 2015
Submission Date
Oct 17, 2015
arXiv ID: 1510.05154
External links


This study investigates the content of the published scientific literature in the fields of operations research and management science (OR/MS) since the early 1950s. Our study is based on 80,757 published journal abstracts from 37 of the leading OR/MS journals. We have developed a topic model, using Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), and extend this analysis to reveal the temporal dynamics of the field, journals, and topics. Our analysis shows the generality or specificity of each of the journals, and we identify groups of journals with similar content, which are both consistent and inconsistent with intuition. We also show how journals have become more or less unique in their scope. A more detailed analysis of each journals' topics over time shows significant temporal dynamics, especially for journals with niche content. This study presents an observational, yet objective, view of the published literature from OR/MS that would be of interest to authors, editors, journals, and publishers. Furthermore, this work can be used by new entrants to the fields of OR/MS to understand the content landscape, as a starting point for discussions and inquiry of the field at large, or as a model for other fields to perform similar analyses.


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