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Citation Network Analysis

Guide to Citation Network Analysis, with definitions, examples, and a tutorial

Step 1 - Install VOSViewer

For our demo, we will use VOSViewer to execute a basic example of CNA based on a search result from Web of Science. This demo follows the steps of an in-class workshop offered by the King Library.

Step 2 - Choose a data source

VOSViewer can import data from many sources, including databases and APIs. For the demo, let's look at some sources that are available to SJSU users and easy to use.

For this demo, we will use Web of Science.

Here are some other databases that work well with VOSViewer.

Step 3: Search Web of Science

You can use any of Web of Science's search tools to refine your dataset. For the demo, we suggest, choosing a Web of Science Category (e.g. Psychology) to define the disciplinary boundaries of your search, along with a topic that identifies a particular sub-field or research topic within the discipline.

Search of the Web of Science interface

Step 4: Export Data

Follow the steps below to export data in a format that VOSViewer will recognize:

  • Sort search results by Citations: highest first (optional, but recommended for the exercise)
  • Select Export -> Plain Text FileSort search results and export text
  • Select Record Content: Full Record and Cited References
  • Select Records from 1 to 500
  • Export
  • A text file will be saved to your Downloads folderScreenshot of export menu

Step 6: Import Data to VOSViewer

Now that you have created your data set, the next step is to import data into VOSViewer - go to the next page to follow along.