Less Fragmented but Highly Centralized: A Bibliometric Analysis of Research in Computational Social Science

Xiaohui Wang, Yunya Song*, Youzhen Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Since its inception, computational social science (CSS) has been characterized as an interdisciplinary field. Nevertheless, unlike a mature interdisciplinary field that duly integrates knowledge beyond disciplinary boundaries, CSS has arguably been fragmented into multiple lines of inquiry. Although such fragmentation has been a constant concern, limited empirical evidence exists to substantiate any degree of integration in research on CSS. To systematically map the landscape of research on CSS, we examined the dynamic topology of the bibliometric network of CSS during the past 20 years. By comparing the structure of the coupling network and the co-subject network with three prototypical network models that we simulated—the centralized model, the fragmented model, and the cohesive model—our analysis revealed that the citation networks of research on CSS are highly centralized but less fragmented than often assumed. Beyond that, a driving factor shaping the coupling network’s cohesive structure is the citation to high-impact articles. Those and other findings contribute to current understandings of the process of integration in the evolution of disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-966
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • bibliometric analysis
  • computational social science
  • fragmentation
  • integration
  • interdisciplinary
  • network topology


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