Skip to main content
Log in

Tracing the evolution of physics with a keyword co-occurrence network

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of the Korean Physical Society Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Describing the evolution of science is a salient work not only for revealing the scientific trend but also for establishing a scientific classification system. In this paper, we investigate the evolution of science by observing the structure of and the change on keyword co-occurrence networks. Starting from seven target physics fields and their initial keywords selected by experts from the Korean Physical Society, we generate keyword co-occurrence networks to capture better topological structure with our proposed approach. In this way, we can construct a more relevant and abundant keyword network from a small set of initial keywords. With these networks, we successfully identify the scientific sub-field by detecting communities and extracting core keywords of each community. Furthermore, we use a time-snapshot keyword network to trace the temporal evolution of sub-fields, and the resultant temporal change of the community membership explains the evolution of the research field well. Our approach for tracing the evolution of a research field with a keyword co-occurrence network can shed light on identifying and assessing the evolution of science.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. S. Shibayama, Scientometrics 88, 43 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. K. Aagaard, A. Kladakis, M.W. Nielsen, Quant. Sci. Stud. 1, 117 (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  3. G. Abramo, C.A. D’Angelo, A. Caprasecca, Res. Policy 38, 206 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. J.G. Foster, A. Rzhetsky, J.A. Evans, Am. Sociol. Rev. 80, 875 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. T. Kuhn, M. Perc, D. Helbing, Phys. Rev. X. 4, 041036 (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  6. L. Bornmann, F. de M. Anegón, L. Leydesdorff, PLoS One 5, e13327 (2010)

  7. F. Radicchi, C. Castellano, Phys. Rev. E 83, 046116 (2011)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. J. Yoon, J. Yun, W.-S. Jung, New Phys.: Sae Mulli 68, 647 (2018)

  9. W. Liu, A. Nanetti, S.A. Cheong, PLoS ONE 12, e0184821 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. W. Liu, S. Saganowski, P. Kazienko, S.A. Cheng, arXiv preprint, arXiv:1810.12116 (2018)

  11. J. Choi, H. Kim, N. Im, J. Intell. Inform. Syst. 17, 227 (2011)

    Google Scholar 

  12. H. Yang, W.-S. Jung, J. Eng. Technol. Manage. 40, 64 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. S. Yi, J. Choi, Scientometrics 90, 1015 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. H.A.N. Su, P.C. Lee, Scientometrics 85, 65 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. H. Kim, W.-S. Jung, Ind. Eng. Manag. Syst. 15, 92 (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  16. S. Radhakrishnan, S. Erbis, J.A. Isaac, S. Kamarthi, PLoS ONE 12, e0172778 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. V.D. Blondel, J.L. Guillaume, R. Lambiotte, E. Lefebvre, J. Stat. Mech: Theory Exp. 2008, P10008 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. M. Jacomy, T. Venturini, S. Heymann, M. Bastian, PLoS ONE 9, e98679 (2014)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was motivated by a research project on the classification of topics in physics, which was done by the Korean Physical Society and supported by the National Research Foundation. This research was supported by the MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT), Korea, under the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) support program (IITP-2020-2018-0-01441) supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation) and partly by an IITP grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No.2019-0-01906, Artificial Intelligence Graduate School Program (POSTECH)).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Woo-Sung Jung.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

You, T., Yoon, J., Kwon, OH. et al. Tracing the evolution of physics with a keyword co-occurrence network. J. Korean Phys. Soc. 78, 236–243 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: