Journal of Molecular Biology’s Growth and Content Analysis
Universite de Bordeaux
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, SCIENTOMETRY, PRICE’S LAW, SCIENCE GROWTH
Price’s law of exponential growth holds for the Journal of Molecular Biology (JMB), a journal created in 1959 and which was arguably at that time the most important of the discipline. In this paper, this growth is detailed according to countries, scientists, topics, at the early stage of the history of the journal, from 1959 to the 1970s, thanks to databases (Scopus, Pudmed) as well as manual analysis. The aim of the paper is to check whether in several subfields of molecular biology, Price’s views on the relationship between little science (at the scientist level) and big science (from the statistical point of view) are fruitful. During this period, which by some scientists has been considered as the “golden age” of molecular biology, important scientific problems were solved (genetic code, DNA replica- tion) and in the 1970s, their applications -genetic engineering technology- emerged. The growth of the journal was exponential, as expected by Price’s law, but outpaced the prediction, with a shorter doubling-time than 15 years. Thus, JMB is a suitable case for a more detailed analysis of its scientific content and of the relationship between statistical growth and scientific trends at the bench.