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Global ontology research progress: a bibliometric analysis

Qiaoli Zhu (School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Xuesong Kong (School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Song Hong (School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Junli Li (School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Zongyi He (School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 19 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the global scientific outputs of ontology research, an important emerging discipline that has huge potential to improve information understanding, organization, and management.

Design/methodology/approach

This study collected literature published during 1900-2012 from the Web of Science database. The bibliometric analysis was performed from authorial, institutional, national, spatiotemporal, and topical aspects. Basic statistical analysis, visualization of geographic distribution, co-word analysis, and a new index were applied to the selected data.

Findings

Characteristics of publication outputs suggested that ontology research has entered into the soaring stage, along with increased participation and collaboration. The authors identified the leading authors, institutions, nations, and articles in ontology research. Authors were more from North America, Europe, and East Asia. The USA took the lead, while China grew fastest. Four major categories of frequently used keywords were identified: applications in Semantic Web, applications in bioinformatics, philosophy theories, and common supporting technology. Semantic Web research played a core role, and gene ontology study was well-developed. The study focus of ontology has shifted from philosophy to information science.

Originality/value

This is the first study to quantify global research patterns and trends in ontology, which might provide a potential guide for the future research. The new index provides an alternative way to evaluate the multidisciplinary influence of researchers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41071290).

Citation

Zhu, Q., Kong, X., Hong, S., Li, J. and He, Z. (2015), "Global ontology research progress: a bibliometric analysis", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 67 No. 1, pp. 27-54. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-05-2014-0061

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited