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Constructing bibliometric networks: A comparison between full and fractional counting

Antonio Perianes-Rodriguez, Ludo Waltman and Nees Jan van Eck

Journal of Informetrics, 2016, vol. 10, issue 4, 1178-1195

Abstract: The analysis of bibliometric networks, such as co-authorship, bibliographic coupling, and co-citation networks, has received a considerable amount of attention. Much less attention has been paid to the construction of these networks. We point out that different approaches can be taken to construct a bibliometric network. Normally the full counting approach is used, but we propose an alternative fractional counting approach. The basic idea of the fractional counting approach is that each action, such as co-authoring or citing a publication, should have equal weight, regardless of for instance the number of authors, citations, or references of a publication. We present two empirical analyses in which the full and fractional counting approaches yield very different results. These analyses deal with co-authorship networks of universities and bibliographic coupling networks of journals. Based on theoretical considerations and on the empirical analyses, we conclude that for many purposes the fractional counting approach is preferable over the full counting one.

Keywords: Bibliographic coupling network; Bibliometric network; Co-authorship network; Co-citation network; Fractional counting; Full counting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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