Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tools for Neuroscience Bibliometrics

I'm testing out tools for doing neuroscience bibliometrics to test the fruitfulness of co-citation as a method for identifying a community of researchers working in the same field of neuroscience under the same research model. The availability of software for identifying co-citation networks promises to simplify protocols for identifying communities of science researchers. Such protocols would make it easier to re-identify research communities. This capacity to re-identify research communities is critical if sociologists of science are going to be able to engage in systematic and unbiased research. How are you supposed to be able to tell that I've accurately represented what a community of researchers is doing if I can't tell you how to find them? Furthermore, why should I believe that you've identified an actual community unless you can tell me what unifies them? I think that bibliometrics can help to answer these questions.

Presently, I'm testing out CiteSpaceII, using my MacBook. The software has proven to be very buggy and finicky about which browser I use. For example, I can't open CiteSpaceII using FireFox, but I can open it using Safari. However, when I do open CiteSpace, the GUI is compressed, buttons are squashed and labels are hard to read. Apparently, these problems do not arise on a Windows system. Not sure what CiteSpaceII looks like on a Linux system.

Because CiteSpaceII doesn't like my Mac, I'm now looking into using NetworkWorkbench. The documentation appears to be more extensive and NetworkWorkbench appears to be able to do whatever CiteSpaceII can do. NetworkWorkbench does not appear to have the same kinds of compatibility issues.