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Kraker Peter, Schlögl Christian, Jack Kris, Lindstaedt Stefanie

The Quest for Keeping an Overview: Knowledge Domain Visualizations based on Co-Readership Patterns


Given the enormous amount of scientific knowledge that is produced each and every day, the need for better ways of gaining–and keeping–an overview of research fields is becoming more and more apparent. In a recent paper published in the Journal of Informetrics [1], we analyze the adequacy and applicability of readership statistics recorded in social reference management systems for creating such overviews. First, we investigated the distribution of subject areas in user libraries of educational technology researchers on Mendeley. The results show that around 69% of the publications in an average user library can be attributed to a single subject area. Then, we used co-readership patterns to map the field of educational technology. The resulting knowledge domain visualization, based on the most read publications in this field on Mendeley, reveals 13 topic areas of educational technology research. The visualization is a recent representation of the field: 80% of the publications included were published within ten years of data collection. The characteristics of the readers, however, introduce certain biases to the visualization. Knowledge domain visualizations based on readership statistics are therefore multifaceted and timely, but it is important that the characteristics of the underlying sample are made transparent.
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