Using global mapping to create more accurate document-level maps of research fields

Kevin Boyack kboyack at MAPOFSCIENCE.COM
Tue Sep 28 16:11:44 EDT 2010

Dear colleagues - we have a new article available:



Using global mapping to create more accurate document-level maps of research


JASIST (forthcoming); preprint self-archived at 


We describe two general approaches to creating document-level maps of
science. To create a local map one defines and directly maps a sample of
data, such as all literature published in a set of information science
journals. To create a global map of a research field one maps 'all of
science' and then locates a literature sample within that full context. We
provide a deductive argument that global mapping should create more accurate
partitions of a research field than local mapping, followed by practical
reasons why this may not be so. The field of information science is then
mapped at the document level using both local and global methods to provide
a case illustration of the differences between the methods. Textual
coherence is used to assess the accuracies of both maps. We find that
document clusters in the global map have significantly higher coherence than
those in the local map, and that the global map provides unique insights
into the field of information science that cannot be discerned from the
local map. Specifically, we show that information science and computer
science have a large interface and that computer science is the more
progressive discipline at that interface. We also show that research
communities in temporally linked threads have a much higher coherence than
isolated communities, and that this feature can be used to predict which
threads will persist into a subsequent year. Methods that could increase the
accuracy of both local and global maps in the future are also discussed.


Dick Klavans and Kevin Boyack

SciTech Strategies, Inc. 



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