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Citation mapping

Bibliometrics is an information science technique that aims to show the relationships between documents; however, the results have often been difficult to understand and the real meaning obscured by mathematical and statistical relationships.  A new approach is being developed by three researchers at the University of Washington, United States of America: Carl T. Bergstrom, Jevin D. West and Martin Rosvall.  the essence of the work is to develop a mapping technique that can be used to capture the associations between patterns of citations and, thus, to map relationships.  In her article of 11 September 2011, Jennifer Howard explains the origin and reasons for developing the technique (Citation by citation, new maps chart hot research and scholarship’s hidden terrain, Chronicle of higher education, 13 September 2011).  Their system, InfoMap, makes use of a statistical technique called “Eigenfactors” that provides a rather more sensitive measure than the Journal Impact Factor that has been so widely used.  The researchers aim to make their system freely and easily available.  Rosvall and Bergstrom’s paper about the technique as applied to the development of neuroscience, Mapping change in large networks (PLoSONE, 5(1) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008694) explains the technique and highlights its advantages.

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