Bibliometric mapping for current and potential collaboration detection

Jordan Wrigley, Virginia Carden, Megan von Isenburg


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 about that topic. To address this question, library staff developed a collaborative, multi-tool process for bibliometric analysis and network visualization. The primary data source used was a preexisting, curated EndNote library of institutional publications. This EndNote library was searched using keywords relevant to the topic in order to create two sublibraries: one on pain and one specifically on musculoskeletal pain. Article data from each library were exported into InCites to create a benchmarking analysis. In addition, article data were imported into VOSviewer to visualize collaboration networks by author and create concept maps. Researchers were consulted to identify and label resulting clusters in the VOSviewer visualizations. This project successfully generated useful visualizations via bibliometric mapping that characterized current and potential pain research at the institution. The analysis was included in a grant proposal for funding a center for pain research and for catalyzing further collaborative research.

Virtual Projects are published on an annual basis in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) following an annual call for virtual projects in MLAConnect and announcements to encourage submissions from all types of libraries. An advisory committee of recognized technology experts selects project entries based on their currency, innovation, and contribution to health sciences librarianship.


Bibliometrics; Bibliometric Mapping; VOSviewer; Collaboration; Data Visualization; JMLA Virtual Projects

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van Eck NJ, Waltman L. Citation-based clustering of publications using CitNetExplorer and VOSviewer. Scientometrics. 2017 May;111(2):1053–70.

Waltman L, van Eck NJ. A new methodology for constructing a publication-level classification system of science. J Am Soc Inf Sci Technol. 2012 Dec;63(12):2378–92.



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