Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

As public and political debates often demonstrate, a substantial disjoint can exist between the findings of science and the impact it has on the public. Using climate-change science as a case example, we reconsider the role of scientists in the information-dissemination process, our hypothesis being that important keywords used in climate science follow "boom and bust" fashion cycles in public usage. Representing this public usage through extraordinary new data on word frequencies in books published up to the year 2008, we show that a classic two-parameter social-diffusion model closely fits the comings and goings of many keywords over generational or longer time scales. We suggest that the fashions of word usage contributes an empirical, possibly regular, correlate to the impact of climate science on society.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1371/journal.pone.0047966

Publication Title

PLoS ONE

Volume

7

Issue

11

Comments

© 2012 the authors. Published under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0. Original published version available at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0047966.

Bentley R.A., Garnett P., O'Brien M.J., Brock W.A.. 2012. Word Diffusion and Climate Science. Public Library of Science.

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