Sci Data 2019 04 18;6(1):33. Epub 2019 Apr 18.
Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
A central question in the science of science concerns how to develop a quantitative understanding of the evolution and impact of individual careers. Over the course of history, a relatively small fraction of individuals have made disproportionate, profound, and lasting impacts on science and society. Despite a long-standing interest in the careers of scientific elites across diverse disciplines, it remains difficult to collect large-scale career histories that could serve as training sets for systematic empirical and theoretical studies. Here, by combining unstructured data collected from CVs, university websites, and Wikipedia, together with the publication and citation database from Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), we reconstructed publication histories of nearly all Nobel prize winners from the past century, through both manual curation and algorithmic disambiguation procedures. Data validation shows that the collected dataset presents among the most comprehensive collection of publication records for Nobel laureates currently available. As our quantitative understanding of science deepens, this dataset is expected to have increasing value. It will not only allow us to quantitatively probe novel patterns of productivity, collaboration, and impact governing successful scientific careers, it may also help us unearth the fundamental principles underlying creativity and the genesis of scientific breakthroughs.