Network of networks: A bibliometric analysis

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, 2021, 421, pp. 132889
Issue Date:
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This study explores the evolving structure of the rising field of “network of networks” (NoN). Reviewing publications dating back to 1931, we describe the evolution of major NoN research themes in different scientific disciplines and the gradual emergence of an integrated field. We analyse the co-occurrence networks of keywords used in all 7818 scientific publications in Scopus database that mention NoN and other related terms (i.e., “interconnected networks”, “multilayer networks”, “multiplex networks”, “interdependent networks”, “multinetworks”, “multilevel networks”, and “multidimensional networks”). The results show that the NoN began to form as a field mainly in the 1990s around research on neural networks. Diverse aspects of NoN research, indicated by dominant keywords such as “interconnection”, “multilayer”, and “interdependence”, gradually spread to computer and physical sciences. As of 2018, network interdependence – with its application in network resilience and prevention of cascading failure – seems to be one of the key topics attracting broad academic attention. Another noteworthy observation is the emergence of a distinct cluster of terms relevant to nanoscience and nanotechnology. It is envisaged from the analysis that NoN concepts will develop stronger ties with nanoscience with increasing understanding and data acquisition from the molecular, atomic, and subatomic levels.
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