Journal of Data and Information Science ›› 2016, Vol. 1 ›› Issue (4): 33-59.doi: 10.20309/jdis.201624

• Research Paper • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Mapping Diversity of Publication Patterns in the Social Sciences and Humanities: An Approach Making Use of Fuzzy Cluster Analysis

Frederik T. Verleysen1, Arie Weeren2   

  1. 1 Centre for Research & Development Monitoring(ECOOM), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp, Middelheimlaan 1, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium;
    2 Mathworks, Postbus 7921, 5605 SH Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Received:2016-08-02 Revised:2016-08-24 Online:2016-11-03 Published:2016-08-24

Abstract: Purpose: To present a method for systematically mapping diversity of publication patterns at the author level in the social sciences and humanities in terms of publication type, publication language and co-authorship.
Design/methodology/approach: In a follow-up to the hard partitioning clustering by Verleysen and Weeren in 2016, we now propose the complementary use of fuzzy cluster analysis, making use of a membership coefficient to study gradual differences between publication styles among authors within a scholarly discipline. The analysis of the probability density function of the membership coefficient allows to assess the distribution of publication styles within and between disciplines.
Findings: As an illustration we analyze 1,828 productive authors affiliated in Flanders, Belgium. Whereas a hard partitioning previously identified two broad publication styles, an international one vs. a domestic one, fuzzy analysis now shows gradual differences among authors. Internal diversity also varies across disciplines and can be explained by researchers' specialization and dissemination strategies.
Research limitations: The dataset used is limited to one country for the years 2000-2011; a cognitive classification of authors may yield a different result from the affiliation-based classification used here.
Practical implications: Our method is applicable to other bibliometric and research evaluation contexts, especially for the social sciences and humanities in non-Anglophone countries.
Originality/value: The method proposed is a novel application of cluster analysis to the field of bibliometrics. Applied to publication patterns at the author level in the social sciences and humanities, for the first time it systematically documents intra-disciplinary diversity.

Key words: Bibliometrics, Social sciences and humanities, Publication patterns, Dissemination, Cluster analysis