Using Bibliometric Analysis and Visualization to Identify Current and Potential Collaborators

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  • Background: To facilitate enhanced collaboration and team science, various methods to detect and analyze current and potential collaborative research communities have been developed. This project characterized current research and collaboration patterns in pain research at one institution after researchers working on a grant application approached the library to better understand current institutional research and publishing on that topic. To address this question, library staff developed a collaborative, multi-tool process for bibliometric analysis and network visualization. Description: No specific research impact department exists within the library; therefore, staff worked collaboratively to identify existing data and tools to address the research questions. The primary data source used was a pre-existing, curated EndNote library of institutional publications. This library was searched using keywords relevant to the topic to create two sub-libraries: one on pain and one specifically on musculoskeletal pain. Article data from each library were exported into InCites to create benchmarking analysis. Results were ranked by selected variables to highlight existing institutional successes in pain research and publishing. In addition, article data were imported into VOSviewer to visualize collaboration networks by author and by topic. Researchers were consulted to identify and label resulting clusters within the VOSviewer visualizations. Conclusions: Data visualization is an invaluable tool in detecting and analyzing current and potential collaborative research. This project successfully generated a number of useful visualizations that characterized current and potential pain research at this institution. The analysis was included in a grant proposal for funding a center for pain research and for catalyzing further collaborative research.
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