With the raise of visualization tools, one would expect that there are some great tools out there that provide researchers with easy to use visualizations of how papers and authors are connected.
I distinguish between three different types of visualization tools: Impact factor, co-authors, and citations. Unfortunately, there currently seems to be no tool available that combines all three.
1. Tools to visualize the impact factor of a journal (impact factor diagrams)
Eigenfactor [free] offers dynamic graphs of the impact factor of journal by field. One can choose the field of interest, e.g. chemistry, education, or physics. The dynamic graph shows the journals with the highest impact factors on a timeline from 1997 to the present (slider below the graph). Eigenfactor is an academic research project co-founded by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom and sponsored by the Bergstrom Lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington.
|Eigenfactor 'motion graphs' show the impact factor of journals (on a timeline)|
Do you want to see which researchers published together as co-authors? The 'Visual Explorer' of Microsoft Academic Search [free] focuses on the relations between people. After selecting a certain author, one can choose 'co-author path' in the left hand menu. The dynamically generated diagram show the co-authors of this researcher ('co-author graph'), how this researcher is connected to another researcher ('co-author path' - similar to the Six degrees of Kevin Bacon index), and who cited this researcher ('citation graph').
|The 'Visual Explorer' by Microsoft Academic search shows relations between co-authors|
Do you want to know which papers cited a certain publication (forward mapping)? Do you want to see which papers were cited by a publication? Papercube [free] provides a visual navigation of academic citation networks. The data is a static snapshot of the CiteSeer digital library from 2004. The tools only serves to demonstrate the features but is unfortunately no longer updated.
|Papercube shows academic citation networks (based on 2004 data)|
|Web of Science citation graph|
- Science of Science Tool (Sci2)
- Pajek Wiki http://pajek.imfm.si
- OSviewer www.vosviewer.com
- NodeXL http://nodexl.codeplex.com
- NetDraw http://sites.google.com/site/netdrawsoftware
- Cytoscape www.cytoscape.org
Given the advances in data analytics, it is surprising (and disappointing) that there are no better designed tools for academics to explore and discover connections between publications.