Mapping science through bibliometric triangulation: an experimental approach applied to water research

B. Wen, E. Horlings, M. van der Zouwen, P.A.A. van den Besselaar

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The idea of constructing science maps based on bibliographic data has intrigued researchers for decades, and various techniques have been developed to map the structure of research disciplines. Most science mapping studies use a single method. However, as research fields have various properties, a valid map of a field should actually be composed of a set of maps derived from a series of investigations using different methods. That leads to the question of what can be learned from a combination—triangulation—of these different science maps. In this paper we propose a method for triangulation, using the example of water science. We combine three different mapping approaches: journal–journal citation relations (JJCR), shared author keywords (SAK), and title word-cited reference co-occurrence (TWRC). Our results demonstrate that triangulation of JJCR, SAK, and TWRC produces a more comprehensive picture than each method applied individually. The outcomes from the three different approaches can be associated with each other and systematically interpreted to provide insights into the complex multidisciplinary structure of the field of water research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-738
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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