Co-word analysis applied to highly cited papers in Library and Information Science (2007-2017)

Carmen Galvez, Professor in the University of Granada, Department of Information and Communication, Granada, Spain

Bibliometric indicators were applied to the highly cited documents in the field of Library and Information Sciences (LIS) to identify the most active lines of research in this domain of knowledge. The bibliometric indicators approach the analysis of scientific activity from several perspectives, giving rise to a great variety of typologies, according to the different evaluative purposes. The hypothesis was based on the premise that the citations of the research papers are an indicator of the influence they have in an area of ​​knowledge, originating new ideas and emerging thematic focuses. From the highly cited documents, the objective of this work was to apply the co-word analysis methodology (CALLON; COURTIAL; PENAN, 1995; DING; CHOWDHURY; FOO, 2001) to identify the conceptual structure, and the main research fronts of the LIS area, during the 2007-2017.

A total of 347 documents were recovered, corresponding to the “Library & Information Science” category of Web of Science (WoS), during the 2007-2017 period, and using the “Highly cited papers” indicator (AKSNES, 2003). With the application of the co-word analysis method, we were able to visualize the conceptual structure of the LIS category included in WoS, from the highly cited articles. The application of relational bibliometric indicators allowed us to highlight which were the topics of greatest interest in this time period. The main conclusions that were extracted are presented below. First, the rise of studies on media and social networks in web 2.0 was noted, mainly characterized by the participation of the user as an active contributor of the contents of the web and of the sites that facilitate editing, publication, interoperability or exchange of information. Second, interest was shown in the evaluation of research along with the emergence of new metrics to measure scientific activity, such as Altmetrics, whose origin began in the recording of information on social and academic platforms in the context of web 2.0. Third, the importance of the application of Information Technology (IT) to improve confidence and security in virtual environments was evidenced. Fourth, the studies on IT adoption models were highlighted from the point of view of user perceived utility, such as ease of use and social influence, as well as its use by health professionals. Fifth, the progressive growth of the implementation of IT in digital platforms was verified to increase the productivity of companies in electronic commerce.


AKSNES, D. W. Characteristics of highly cited papers. Research Evaluation, v. 12, n. 3, p. 159-170, 2003. ISSN: 1471-5449 [viewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.3152/147154403781776645. Avaliable from:

CALLON, M., COURTIAL, J. and PENAN, H. Cienciometría. Gijón: Trea, 1995.

DING, Y., CHOWDHURY, G. G. and FOO, S. Bibliometric cartography of information retrieval research by using co-word analysis. Information Processing and Management, v. 37, n. 6, p. 817-842, 2001. ISSN: 0306-4573  [reviewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.1016/S0306-4573(00)00051-0. Avaliable from:

To read the article, access

GALVEZ, C. Co-word analysis applied to highly cited papers in Library and Information Science (2007-2017). Transinformação, v. 30, n. 3, p. 277-286, 2018. ISSN: 0103-3786. [viewed 11 February 2019]. DOI: 10.1590/2318-08892018000300001. Available from:

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Transinformação – TINF:


How to cite this post [ISO 690/2010]:

GALVEZ, C. Co-word analysis applied to highly cited papers in Library and Information Science (2007-2017) [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2019 [viewed ]. Available from:


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