Improving overlay maps of science: combining overview and detail

by   Peter Sjögårde, et al.

Overlay maps of science are global base maps over which subsets of publications can be projected. Such maps can be used to monitor, explore, and study research through its publication output. Most maps of science, including overlay maps, are flat in the sense that they visualize research fields at one single level. Such maps generally fail to provide both overview and detail about the research being analyzed. The aim of this study is to improve overlay maps of science to provide both features in a single visualization. I created a map based on a hierarchical classification of publications, including broad disciplines for overview and more granular levels to incorporate detailed information. The classification was obtained by clustering articles in a citation network of about 17 million publication records in PubMed from 1995 onwards. The map emphasizes the hierarchical structure of the classification by visualizing both disciplines and the underlying specialties. To show how the visualization methodology can help getting both overview of research and detailed information about its topical structure, I projected two overlay maps onto the base map: (1) open access publishing and (2) coronavirus/Covid-19 research.


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