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Thematic evolution of coronavirus disease: a longitudinal co-word analysis

Mahdiyeh Khazaneha (Department of Neurology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran)
Oranus Tajedini (Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran)
Omid Esmaeili (Shahid Mahamdi Hospital, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar-Abbas, Iran) (Seyed-o-Shohada Hospital, Kerman, Iran)
Mehdi Abdi (Seyed-o-Shohada Hospital, Kerman, Iran)
Ali Akbar Khasseh (Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran)
Ali Sadatmoosavi (Department of Medical Library and Information Sciences, Faculty of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 12 April 2022

Issue publication date: 18 April 2023




Using science mapping analysis approach and co-word analysis, the present study explores and visualizes research fields and thematic evolution of the coronavirus. Based on this method, one can get a picture of the real content of the themes in the mentioned thematic area and identify the main minor and emerging themes.


This study was conducted based on co-word science mapping analysis under a longitudinal study (from 1988 to 2020). The collection of documents in this study was further divided into three subperiods: 1988–1998, 1999–2009 and 2010–2020. In order to perform science mapping analysis based on co-word bibliographic networks, SciMAT was utilized as a bibliometric tool. Moreover, WoS, PubMed and Scopus bibliographic databases were used to download all records.


In this study, strategic diagrams were demonstrated for the coronavirus research for a chronological period to assess the most relevant themes. Each diagram depended on the sum of documents linked to each research topic. In the first period (1988–1998), the most centralizations were on virology and evaluation of coronavirus structure and its structural and nonstructural proteins. In the second period (1999–2009), with due attention to high population density in eastern Asia and the increasing number of people affected with the new generation of coronavirus (named severe acute respiratory syndrome virus or SARS virus), publications have been concentrated on “antiviral activity.” In the third period (2010–2020), there was a tendency to investigate clinical syndromes, and most of the publications and citations were about hot topics like “severe acute respiratory syndrome,” “coronavirus” and “respiratory tract disease.” Scientometric analysis of the field of coronavirus can be regarded as a roadmap for future research and policymaking in this important area.


The originality of this research can be considered in two ways. First, the strategic diagrams of coronavirus are drawn in four thematic areas including motor cluster, basic and transversal cluster, highly developed cluster and emerging and declining cluster. Second, COVID-19 is mentioned as a hot topic of research.



Khazaneha, M., Tajedini, O., Esmaeili, O., Abdi, M., Khasseh, A.A. and Sadatmoosavi, A. (2023), "Thematic evolution of coronavirus disease: a longitudinal co-word analysis", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 7-24.



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