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Science overlay maps: A new tool for research policy and library management

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  • Ismael Rafols
  • Alan L. Porter
  • Loet Leydesdorff

Abstract

We present a novel approach to visually locate bodies of research within the sciences, both at each moment of time and dynamically. This article describes how this approach fits with other efforts to locally and globally map scientific outputs. We then show how these science overlay maps help benchmarking, explore collaborations, and track temporal changes, using examples of universities, corporations, funding agencies, and research topics. We address their conditions of application and discuss advantages, downsides, and limitations. Overlay maps especially help investigate the increasing number of scientific developments and organizations that do not fit within traditional disciplinary categories. We make these tools available online to enable researchers to explore the ongoing sociocognitive transformations of science and technology systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Ismael Rafols & Alan L. Porter & Loet Leydesdorff, 2010. "Science overlay maps: A new tool for research policy and library management," Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 61(9), pages 1871-1887, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jamist:v:61:y:2010:i:9:p:1871-1887
    DOI: 10.1002/asi.21368
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