Visualizing Bibliometric Networks

  • Nees Jan van EckEmail author
  • Ludo Waltman


This chapter provides an introduction to the topic of visualizing bibliometric networks. First, the most commonly studied types of bibliometric networks (i.e., citation, co-citation, bibliographic coupling, keyword co-occurrence, and coauthorship networks) are discussed, and three popular visualization approaches (i.e., distance-based, graph-based, and timeline-based approaches) are distinguished. Next, an overview is given of a number of software tools that can be used for visualizing bibliometric networks. In the second part of the chapter, the focus is specifically on two software tools: VOSviewer and CitNetExplorer. The techniques used by these tools to construct, analyze, and visualize bibliometric networks are discussed. In addition, tutorials are offered that demonstrate in a step-by-step manner how both tools can be used. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the limitations and the proper use of bibliometric network visualizations and with a summary of some ongoing and future developments.


Noun Phrase Citation Network Bibliographic Data Bibliographic Coupling Citation Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Katy Börner and Ismael Rafols for their very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science and Technology StudiesLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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