The emergence of COVID-19 team science: A new interdisciplinary project between UF Sociology and Linguistics

By Jared Adams

A new interdisciplinary collaboration spanning three UF departments and research groups has been formed thanks to the UF Informatics Institute (UFII) COVID-19 Response Seed Funding initiative. The project, titled “The emergence of COVID-19 team science: tracking topics, networks and expertise in global COVID-19 research” and based in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law and in the Department of Linguistics, was awarded a UFII SEED grant. Led by PI Raffaele Vacca, Assistant Professor of Sociology, and co-PI Kevin Tang, Assistant Professor of Computational Language Science, the project brings together expertise from network science (UF BEBR/CTSI Network Science Lab), computational linguistics (UF Speech Lexicon and Modeling Lab), and One Health research (UF One Health Center of Excellence).

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a transformative impact on science, accelerating the convergence of a highly interdisciplinary and dynamic “team science” field of coronavirus/Covid-19 research. This project will analyze a unique combination of big bibliographic data to track evolving topics, growing networks, and hidden expertise in global and local COVID-19 research. The project will use CORD-19, a growing dataset of over 63,000 coronavirus/COVID-19 scientific articles, and Dimensions, a global database of approximately 100 million publications, grants, and patents with detailed author information. It will draw on theories and methods from computational social science, natural language processing, and network science to examine the growth and diversification of topics and networks in global COVID-19 research, their temporal and geographic distribution, and the emergence of scientific consensus on specific Covid-19 topics.

The BEBR/CTSI Network Science Lab, co-led by Christopher McCarty and Raffaele Vacca, is a team of UF faculty, postdocs and graduate and undergraduate assistants who conduct research on science and scientific collaboration, social networks, and individual and population health outcomes. The Lab is supported in part by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Network Science Module of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute) and the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The Speech, Lexicon and Modeling Lab (SLaM), directed by Kevin Tang, is a team of UF faculty, graduate and undergraduate assistants who advance applied and theoretical linguistic research involving spoken speech and grammar (phonetics and phonology) and word knowledge (lexicon) with experimental and computational methods.

The One Health Center of Excellence, led by Ilaria Capua, is a joint effort of UF IFAS and UF Health with the mission of co-advancing the health of humans, animals, plants and the environment with innovative scientific approaches, including big data research and strong interdisciplinary synergies. The Center has recently launched the E-ellow Submarine Interdisciplinary Convergence Initiative, a multicentric task force of scientists who analyze data generated during the Covid-19 pandemic through a Circular Health approach.

This story originally appeared on UF CLAS.

Check out more stories about UF research on COVID-19.