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SciBR-M: a method to map the evolution of scientific interest - A case study in educational data mining

Luis Zárate (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Marcos W. Rodrigues (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Sérgio Mariano Dias (Federal Data Processing Service (SERPRO), Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Cristiane Nobre (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Mark Song (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 9 January 2023

Issue publication date: 7 November 2023




The scientific community shares a heritage of knowledge generated by several different fields of research. Identifying how scientific interest evolves is relevant for recording and understanding research trends and society’s demands.


This article presents SciBR-M, a novel method to identify scientific interest evolution from bibliographic material based on Formal Concept Analysis. The SciBR-M aims to describe the thematic evolution surrounding a field of research. The method begins by hierarchically organising sub-domains within the field of study to identify the themes that are more relevant. After this organisation, we apply a temporal analysis that extracts implication rules with minimal premises and a single conclusion, which are helpful to observe the evolution of scientific interest in a specific field of study. To analyse the results, we consider support, confidence, and lift metrics to evaluate the extracted implications.


The authors applied the SciBR-M method for the Educational Data Mining (EDM) field considering 23 years since the first publications. In the digital libraries context, SciBR-M allows the integration of the academy, education, and cultural memory, in relation to a study domain.

Social implications

Cultural changes lead to the production of new knowledge and to the evolution of scientific interest. This knowledge is part of the scientific heritage of society and should be transmitted in a structured and organised form to future generations of scientists and the general public.


The method, based on Formal Concept Analysis, identifies the evolution of scientific interest to a field of study. SciBR-M hierarchically organises bibliographic material to different time periods and explores this hierarchy from proper implication rules. These rules permit identifying recurring themes, i.e. themes subset that received more attention from the scientific community during a specific period. Analysing these rules, it is possible to identify the temporal evolution of scientific interest in the field of study. This evolution is observed by the emergence, increase or decrease of interest in topics in the domain. The SciBR-M method can be used to register and analyse the scientific, cultural heritage of a field of study. In addition, the authors can use the method to stimulate the process of creating knowledge and innovation and encouraging the emergence of new research.



The authors would acknowledge the Foundation for Research Support of Minas Gerais state, FAPEMIG; the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, CNPq; Coordination of Superior Level Staff Improvement, CAPES, in Brazil.


Zárate, L., Rodrigues, M.W., Dias, S.M., Nobre, C. and Song, M. (2023), "SciBR-M: a method to map the evolution of scientific interest - A case study in educational data mining", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 41 No. 6, pp. 1694-1724.



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