, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 835–849

Maps of science as interdisciplinary discourse: co-citation contexts and the role of analogy


DOI: 10.1007/s11192-009-0121-z

Cite this article as:
Small, H. Scientometrics (2010) 83: 835. doi:10.1007/s11192-009-0121-z


Interdisciplinarity can be manifest in many forms: through collaboration or communication between scientists working in different fields or through the work of individual scientists who employ concepts or methods across disciplines. This latter form of interdisciplinarity is addressed here with the goal of understanding how ideas in different fields come together to create new opportunities for discovery. Maps of science are used to suggest possible interdisciplinary links which are then analyzed by co-citation context analysis. Interdisciplinary links are identified by juxtaposing a clustering and mapping of documents against a journal-based categorization of the same document clusters. Links between clusters are characterized as interdisciplinary based on the dissonance of their category assignments. To verify and probe more deeply into the meaning of interdisciplinary links, co-citation contexts for selected links from five separate cases are analyzed in terms of prominent cue words. This analysis reveals that interdisciplinary connections are often based on authors’ perceptions of analogous problems across scientific domains. Cue words drawn from the citation contexts also suggest that these connections are viewed as important and ripe with both opportunity and risk.


Interdisciplinarity Maps of science Co-citation contexts Analogy Cue word analysis 

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thomson ReutersPhiladelphiaUSA

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