Visualizing a Field of Research: A Methodology of Systematic Scientometric Reviews

06/11/2019
by   Chaomei Chen, et al.
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Systematic scientometric reviews, empowered by scientometric and visual analytic techniques, offer opportunities to improve the timeliness, accessibility, and reproducibility of conventional systematic reviews. While increasingly accessible science mapping tools enable end users to visualize the structure and dynamics of a research field, a common bottleneck in the current practice is the construction of a collection of scholarly publications as the input of the subsequent scientometric analysis and visualization. End users often have to face a dilemma in the preparation process: the more they know about a knowledge domain, the easier it is for them to find the relevant data to meet their needs adequately; the little they know, the harder the problem is. What can we do to avoid missing something valuable but beyond our initial description? In this article, we introduce a flexible and generic methodology, cascading citation expansion, to increase the quality of constructing a bibliographic dataset for systematic reviews. Furthermore, the methodology simplifies the conceptualization of globalism and localism in science mapping and unifies them on a consistent and continuous spectrum. We demonstrate an application of the methodology to the research of literature-based discovery and compare five datasets constructed based on three use scenarios, namely a conventional keyword-based search (one dataset), an expansion process starting with a groundbreaking article of the knowledge domain (two datasets), and an expansion process starting with a recently published review article by a prominent expert in the domain (two datasets). The unique coverage of each of the datasets is inspected through network visualization overlays with reference to other datasets in a broad and integrated context.

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