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Data science from a library and information science perspective

Sirje Virkus (School of Digital Technologies, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia)
Emmanouel Garoufallou (Department of Library Science and Information Systems, Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece) (Deltos Group, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Data Technologies and Applications

ISSN: 2514-9288

Article publication date: 4 September 2019

Issue publication date: 22 October 2019



Data science is a relatively new field which has gained considerable attention in recent years. This new field requires a wide range of knowledge and skills from different disciplines including mathematics and statistics, computer science and information science. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of the study that explored the field of data science from the library and information science (LIS) perspective.


Analysis of research publications on data science was made on the basis of papers published in the Web of Science database. The following research questions were proposed: What are the main tendencies in publication years, document types, countries of origin, source titles, authors of publications, affiliations of the article authors and the most cited articles related to data science in the field of LIS? What are the main themes discussed in the publications from the LIS perspective?


The highest contribution to data science comes from the computer science research community. The contribution of information science and library science community is quite small. However, there has been continuous increase in articles from the year 2015. The main document types are journal articles, followed by conference proceedings and editorial material. The top three journals that publish data science papers from the LIS perspective are the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the International Journal of Information Management and the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. The top five countries publishing are USA, China, England, Australia and India. The most cited article has got 112 citations. The analysis revealed that the data science field is quite interdisciplinary by nature. In addition to the field of LIS the papers belonged to several other research areas. The reviewed articles belonged to the six broad categories: data science education and training; knowledge and skills of the data professional; the role of libraries and librarians in the data science movement; tools, techniques and applications of data science; data science from the knowledge management perspective; and data science from the perspective of health sciences.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this research are that this study only analyzed research papers in the Web of Science database and therefore only covers a certain amount of scientific papers published in the field of LIS. In addition, only publications with the term “data science” in the topic area of the Web of Science database were analyzed. Therefore, several relevant studies are not discussed in this paper that are not reflected in the Web of Science database or were related to other keywords such as “e-science,” “e-research,” “data service,” “data curation” or “research data management.”


The field of data science has not been explored using bibliographic analysis of publications from the perspective of the LIS. This paper helps to better understand the field of data science and the perspectives for information professionals.



Virkus, S. and Garoufallou, E. (2019), "Data science from a library and information science perspective", Data Technologies and Applications, Vol. 53 No. 4, pp. 422-441.



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