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Creators/Authors contains: "Gates, Alexander J."

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  1. Abstract

    While philanthropic support for science has increased in the past decade, there is limited quantitative knowledge about the patterns that characterize it and the mechanisms that drive its distribution. Here, we map philanthropic funding to universities and research institutions based on IRS tax forms from 685,397 non-profit organizations. We identify nearly one million grants supporting institutions involved in science and higher education, finding that in volume and scope, philanthropy is a significant source of funds, reaching an amount that rivals some of the key federal agencies like the NSF and NIH. Our analysis also reveals that philanthropic funders tend to focus locally, indicating that criteria beyond research excellence play an important role in funding decisions, and that funding relationships are stable, i.e. once a grant-giving relationship begins, it tends to continue in time. Finally, we show that the bipartite funder-recipient network displays a highly overrepresented motif indicating that funders who share one recipient also share other recipients and we show that this motif contains predictive power for future funding relationships. We discuss the policy implications of our findings on inequality in science, scientific progress, and the role of quantitative approaches to philanthropy.

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  2. Abstract Background

    Interdisciplinarity is often hailed as a necessity for tackling real‐world challenges. We examine the prevalence and impact of interdisciplinarity in the NSF ADVANCE program, which addresses gender equity in STEM.


    Through a quantitative analysis of authorship, references, and citations in ADVANCE publications, we compare the interdisciplinarity of knowledge produced within the program to traditional disciplinary knowledge. We use Simpon's Diversity Index to test for differences across disciplines, and we use negative binomial regression to capture the potential influences of interdisciplinarity on the long‐term impact of ADVANCE publications.


    ADVANCE publications exhibit higher levels of interdisciplinarity across three dimensions of knowledge integration, and cross‐disciplinary ties within ADVANCE successfully integrate social science knowledge into diverse disciplines. Additionally, the interdisciplinarity of publication references positively influences the impact of ADVANCE work, while the interdisciplinarity of authorship teams does not.


    These findings emphasize the significance of interdisciplinarity in problem‐oriented knowledge production, indicating that specific forms of interdisciplinarity can lead to broader impact. By shedding light on the interplay between interdisciplinary approaches, disciplinary structures, and academic recognition, this article contributes to programmatic design to generate impactful problem‐solving knowledge that also adds to the academic community.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 25, 2025
  3. Abstract

    In the recent decade, we have seen major progress in quantifying the behaviors and the impact of scientists, resulting in a quantitative toolset capable of monitoring and predicting the career patterns of the profession. It is unclear, however, if this toolset applies to other creative domains beyond the sciences. In particular, while performance in the arts has long been difficult to quantify objectively, research suggests that professional networks and prestige of affiliations play a similar role to those observed in science, hence they can reveal patterns underlying successful careers. To test this hypothesis, here we focus on ballet, as it allows us to investigate in a quantitative fashion the interplay of individual performance, institutional prestige, and network effects. We analyze data on competition outcomes from 6363 ballet students affiliated with 1603 schools in the United States, who participated in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) between 2000 and 2021. Through multiple logit models and matching experiments, we provide evidence that schools’ strategic network position bridging between communities captures social prestige and predicts the placement of students into jobs in ballet companies. This work reveals the importance of institutional prestige on career success in ballet and showcases the potential of network science approaches to provide quantitative viewpoints for the professional development of careers beyond science.

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  4. null (Ed.)
    The ability to map causal interactions underlying genetic control and cellular signaling has led to increasingly accurate models of the complex biochemical networks that regulate cellular function. These network models provide deep insights into the organization, dynamics, and function of biochemical systems: for example, by revealing genetic control pathways involved in disease. However, the traditional representation of biochemical networks as binary interaction graphs fails to accurately represent an important dynamical feature of these multivariate systems: some pathways propagate control signals much more effectively than do others. Such heterogeneity of interactions reflects canalization—the system is robust to dynamical interventions in redundant pathways but responsive to interventions in effective pathways. Here, we introduce the effective graph, a weighted graph that captures the nonlinear logical redundancy present in biochemical network regulation, signaling, and control. Using 78 experimentally validated models derived from systems biology, we demonstrate that 1) redundant pathways are prevalent in biological models of biochemical regulation, 2) the effective graph provides a probabilistic but precise characterization of multivariate dynamics in a causal graph form, and 3) the effective graph provides an accurate explanation of how dynamical perturbation and control signals, such as those induced by cancer drug therapies, propagate in biochemical pathways. Overall, our results indicate that the effective graph provides an enriched description of the structure and dynamics of networked multivariate causal interactions. We demonstrate that it improves explainability, prediction, and control of complex dynamical systems in general and biochemical regulation in particular. 
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