How to Investigate the Historical Roots and Evolution of Research Fields in China? A Case Study on iMetrics Using RootCite

07/28/2020 ∙ by Xin Li, et al. ∙ 0

This paper aimed to provide an approach to investigate the historical roots and evolution of research fields in China by extending the reference publication year spectroscopy (RPYS). RootCite, an open source software accepts raw data from both the Web of Science and the China Social Science Citation Index (CSSCI), was developed using python. We took iMetrics in China as the research case. 5,141 Chinese iMetrics related publications with 73,376 non-distinct cited references (CR) collected from the CSSCI were analyzed using RootCite. The results showed that the first CR in the field can be dated back to 1882 and written in English; but the majority (64.2 were Chinese publications. 17 peaks referring to 18 seminal works (13 in English and 5 in Chinese) were located during the period from 1900 to 2017. The field shared the same roots with that in the English world but has its own characteristics, and it was then shaped by contributions from both the English world and China. The five Chinese works have played irreplaceable and positive roles in the historical evolutionary path of the field, which should not be ignored, especially for the evolution of the field. This research demonstrated how RootCite aided the task of identifying the origin and evolution of research fields in China, which could be valuable for extending RPYS for countries with other languages.

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