Dissertation Proposal - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Dissertation Proposal

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Dinesh Majeti

will defend his dissertation proposal

Scalable Visualization of Scientific Careers and Cross-disciplinary Dynamics


In science and technology, there is an ever-increasing need for a model that supports insightful evaluation, optimal resource allocation, and awareness of individual and institutional characteristics in the research ecosystem. Such a model stands to transform the academic marketplace by helping interested parties answer questions like the following: How can I compare scientists on different dimensions of scholarship, including citation impact, prestige of publication outlets, and funding? How can I compare institutions on the same metrics?

Publicly available bibliometric data cannot directly answer such questions, thus limiting their scaling properties and widespread use by researchers, recruitment and promotion committees, as well as strategic institutional planners. Here we propose Scholar Plot (SP), a model that solves this problem by building abstractions via innovative analytics and visualizations on bibliometric data, localized institutionally and enhanced with publicly sourced grant and publication prestige data. SP multiplies the value of public data by exploiting and complementing its resources.

While SP is evolving into a valuable front-end interface for academics, the curated datasets that feed it on the back-end provide analytic capabilities not feasible before. In this context, we embarked on an effort to understand the formative processes of cross-disciplinary science. Specifically, we used SP data to study the evolution of genomics, focusing on the effect of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and the behaviors of the biology and computing scholars undertaking genomics research. We measured the impact of cross-disciplinarity from three interlocking perspectives: interpersonal collaboration over time, mixed authorship in scholarly products, and mixed methods in premium articles. Our results demonstrate the catalytic role timely research initiatives could have in the build-up of cross-disciplinary human and social capital. They also highlight the key role of computing in the success of genomics. The outcomes suggest that cross-disciplines do not solely depend on a groundbreaking discovery, but also on ‘homo economicus’ considerations and sustained cultural and knowledge integration. Next, we plan to apply the newly developed methods on studying the brain science ecosystem, which represents the current frontier in cross-disciplinary research.

Date: Monday, December 11, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM
Place: HBS 315
Advisors: Dr. Ioannis Pavlidis

Faculty, students, and the general public are invited.