The map includes both the sciences and the humanities in a hub and wheel arrangement, with the humanities at the center and the sciences arrayed around them. The arrangement fell out naturally from the data and is not contrived, said Johan Bollen, the leader of the research team.
In the map, published in the current issue of PLoS One, the journals are color-coded as follows: physics, light purple; chemistry, blue; biology, green; medicine, red; social sciences, yellow; humanities, white; mathematics, purple; and engineering, pink. The interconnecting lines reflect the probability that a reader will click from one journal to another on the computer screen.
Similar maps have long been constructed on the basis of footnotes in one journal’s articles that refer to articles in other journals. Dr. Bollen believes that his electronic click map better represents scholars’ behavior than does citation analysis, as the footnote method is called.
One reason is that footnotes are often added for a variety of social reasons, like to flatter possible reviewers, improve one’s own citation count or impress colleagues with one’s breadth of reading. The clicks represent scholars’ actual use of information. Also, the clicks capture access to an article to use it for practical purposes, rather than just following citations, Dr. Bollen said.
A reader may click from one journal to another based on many other kinds of links besides citations, like a text search or an e-mail message, Dr. Bollen said.“What we have is a map of worldwide scientific activity,” Dr. Bollen said. He plans to make his data publicly available so scholars can assess the impact of their or others’ articles and the degree of influence of scientific journals.
Source: The New York Times