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Abstract

In this paper, I explore the question of whether the field is progressing well. In doing so, I base my opinion on anchors from four independent studies that I have conducted over the years. These studies treat the field in different ways: as an aggregator of terms, a complex adaptive system, part of a knowledge market, and an evolving biological system. The four perspectives offer different ways of framing the question of progress. I describe these perspectives and make the case based on the conclusions formed from logic and data that the field has indeed progressed splendidly. I argue that the field is maturing and making a contribution, and we should be proud of what we have accomplished. However, through each perspective, I also identify some vicious circles to avoid if we are to continue to progress. The portrait is one of optimism and hope, along with the need for sound stewardship going forward.

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