Identification and Prediction of Interdisciplinary Research Topics: A Study Based on the Concept Lattice Theory

Formal concept analysis (FCA) and concept lattice theory (CLT) are introduced for constructing a network of IDR topics and for evaluating their effectiveness for knowledge structure exploration. We introduced the theory and applications of FCA and CLT, and then proposed a method for interdisciplinary knowledge discovery based on CLT. As an example of empirical analysis, interdisciplinary research (IDR) topics in Information & Library Science (LIS) and Medical Informatics, and in LIS and Geography-Physical, were utilized as empirical fields. Subsequently, we carried out a comparative analysis with two other IDR topic recognition methods.

Findings: The CLT approach is suitable for IDR topic identification and predictions.

Research limitations: IDR topic recognition based on the CLT is not sensitive to the interdisciplinarity of topic terms, since the data can only reflect whether there is a relationship between the discipline and the topic terms. Moreover, the CLT cannot clearly represent a large amounts of concepts.Practical implications: A deeper understanding of the IDR topics was obtained as the structural and hierarchical relationships between them were identified, which can help to get more precise identification and prediction to IDR topics.

Originality/value: IDR topics identification based on CLT have performed well and this theory has several advantages for identifying and predicting IDR topics. First, in a concept lattice, there is a partial order relation between interconnected nodes, and consequently, a complete concept lattice can present hierarchical properties. Second, clustering analysis of IDR topics based on concept lattices can yield clusters that highlight the essential knowledge features and help display the semantic relationship between different IDR topics. Furthermore, the Hasse diagram automatically displays all the IDR topics associated with the different disciplines, thus forming clusters of specific concepts and visually retaining and presenting the associations of IDR topics through multiple inheritance relationships between the concepts.

Author(s): Haiyun Xu, Chao Wang, Kun Dong, Zenghui Yue
Organization(s): Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Qilu University of Technology, Shandong University of Technology, Jining Medical University
Source: Journal of Data and Information Science
Year: 2019

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