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A Bibliometric Analysis and Science Map of Science Diplomacy

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By April Heyward
October 14, 2022

Science diplomacy is global and multifaceted which does not easily lend itself to universal characterization due to diverging perspectives, traditions and norms within countries, sector and academic disciplines. There are competing and varying viewpoints of science diplomacy among researchers that study science diplomacy; state actors in government that work in science diplomacy; and non-state actors that do not work in government but contribute to and influence science diplomacy. The antecedents of science diplomacy can be traced back to as early as the eighteenth century but the phrase “science diplomacy” formally emerged in the twenty-first century in practice and prior research. The advancement of science and technology coupled with the expansion of complex and wicked problems crossing borders facilitated the evolution of science diplomacy. Science diplomacy has evolved into three overarching branches to include diplomacy for science, science in diplomacy and science for diplomacy which were described in a 2010 report titled New Frontiers in Science Diplomacy: Navigating the Changing Balance of Power by The Royal Society. Science diplomacy is a growing field of interest. There is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the body of knowledge and to engage in the great theory hunt. April Heyward’s research is examining the relationship between science and diplomacy. Heyward put forward that science must be equally understood in the science diplomacy equation including how science works in Science Diplomacy: Examining the Relationship Between Science and Diplomacy. This will enrich the understanding of science diplomacy. One of Heyward’s research questions is what is the state of science diplomacy research? Heyward aims to demonstrate how bibliometric analysis and science mapping can be beneficial to researchers, academic institutions and governments.

Bibliometric analysis and science mapping are tools that Heyward employs to answer what is the state of science diplomacy research in addition to traditional literature review and synthesis. Bibliometric analysis is a systematic process of analyzing and synthesizing prior research from a quantitative perspective. Science mapping visually depicts bibliometric results including identified networks and relationships. Machine learning and natural language processing can be employed in bibliometric analysis and science mapping to extend understanding of a topic area. There are multiple software options for performing bibliometric analysis for programmers (coders) and non-programmers. Heyward is a R Programmer (R coder) and employs the bibliometrix R-package developed by Massimo Aria and Corrado Cuccurullo in RStudio IDE (integrated development environment). The bibliometrix R-package facilitates comprehensive bibliometric analysis and science mapping. The steps to perform a comprehensive bibliometric analysis and science mapping includes determining the study design, collecting data, analyzing data collected, visualizing data and interpreting results. The bibliometrix R-package can analyze data from Web of Science Core Collection, PubMed, SCOPUS, Dimensions and Cochrane Library. Researchers can employ a comparative bibliometric analysis of topics. Heyward collected full record and cited references data on science diplomacy from Web of Science Core Collection and imported 5,665 records (total records as of October 3, 2022) as BibTex files into RStudio. Web of Science Core Collection has an incremental export limit of 500 for full record and cited references. Heyward combined 13 BibTex files in RStudio into a single BibTex file with R code within a matter of minutes. The Web of Science Core Collection BibTex data was converted into a bibliographic dataframe in preparation for data analysis. It is important to note that data analysis and results are more extensive than what is presented.

Yielding 5,665 science diplomacy publication records confirms the need for more scholarly contributions to the body of knowledge. The bibliometric results of the Web of Science Core Collection data segments the 5,665 records by the type of publication with quantitative values. There were 26 types of publications but 90 percent of the publications were journal articles (3,032), book reviews (821), proceeding papers (635) and book chapters (536). The results showed there were 179,772 references cited. Heyward programmed R to remove duplicate references. See Figure 1 for Annual Scientific Production of Science Diplomacy Publications for Years 1901-2021. This figure depicts a flatter trend of scientific production of science diplomacy publications until 2003. Figure 1 confirms science diplomacy emerging in prior research in the twenty-first century. See Figure 2 for Science Diplomacy Conceptual Structure Map. This figure is a two-dimensional map showing the results of natural language processing and K-means clustering of concepts from science diplomacy publications. The red cluster is the largest cluster of concepts. See Figure 3 for Science Diplomacy Topic Dendrogram. This figure depicts 5 clusters of topics from science diplomacy publications and the green cluster is the largest cluster of topics. See Figure 4 for Science Diplomacy Author Collaboration Network Analysis. This figure depicts a network analysis of author collaborations among 50 authors. Bibliometric analysis and science mapping can be beneficial for researchers, academic institutions and governments. Researchers can stay up to date on their current/future research interests and incorporate them into proposals for funding. Academic institutions can measure publication productivity and trend academic current/future academic disciplines and research areas. Governments can identify top scientists by fields to engage in the science diplomacy process. Bibliometrics analysis and science mapping are fascinating tools for all academic disciplines and sectors.

Author: April Heyward is an Author for ASPA PA Times, STEM Professional, Researcher, R Programmer, and pursuing her Doctorate in Public Administration. For more information on April Heyward, visit www.aprilheyward.com. She can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ heyward_april. All opinions and views are her own and does not reflect the views and opinions of her affiliations.

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