Infoscience

Journal article

The Closer the Better: Similarity of Publication Pairs at Different Co-Citation Levels

We investigate the similarities of pairs of articles which are co-cited at the different co- citation levels of the journal, article, section, paragraph, sentence and bracket. Our results indicate that textual similarity, intellectual overlap (shared references), author overlap (shared authors), proximity in publication time all rise monotonically as the co-citation level gets lower (from journal to bracket). While the main gain in similarity happens when moving from journal to article co-citation, all level changes entail an increase in similarity, especially section to paragraph and paragraph to sentence/bracket levels. We compare results from four journals over the years 2010-2015: Cell, the European Journal of Operational Research, Physics Letters B and Research Policy, with consistent general outcomes and some interesting differences. Our findings motivate the use of granular co-citation information as defined by meaningful units of text, with implications for, among others, the elaboration of maps of science and the retrieval of scholarly literature.

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