Marcia J. Bates and Mary Niles Maak have written a very accessible paper called Complexity and Self Organization.
Quoting from the abstract of the paper:
“Abstract: this article introduces some of the main concepts and methods of the science studying complex, self-organizing systems and networks, in a non-technical manner. Complexity cannot be strictly defined, only situated in between order and disorder. A complex system is typically modeled as a collection of interacting agents, representing components as diverse as people, cells or molecules. Because of the non-linearity of the interactions, the overall system evolution is generally unpredictable and uncontrollable. However, the system tends to self-organize, in the sense that local interactions eventually produce global coordination and synergy. The resulting structure can in many cases be modeled as a network, with stabilized interactions functioning as links connecting the agents. Such complex, self-organized networks typically exhibit the properties of clustering, being scale-free, and forming a small-world. These ideas have obvious applications in information science when studying networks of authors and their publications.”