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Indicators of the Interdisciplinarity of Journals: Diversity, Centrality, and Citations

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A citation-based indicator for interdisciplinarity has been missing hitherto among the set of available journal indicators. In this study, we investigate network indicators (betweenness centrality), journal indicators (Shannon entropy, the Gini coefficient), and more recently proposed Rao-Stirling measures for "interdisciplinarity." The latter index combines the statistics of both citation distributions of journals (vector-based) and distances in citation networks among journals (matrix-based). The effects of various normalizations are specified and measured using the matrix of 8,207 journals contained in the Journal Citation Reports of the (Social) Science Citation Index 2008. Betweenness centrality in symmetrical (1-mode) cosine-normalized networks provides an indicator outperforming betweenness in the asymmetrical (2-mode) citation network. Among the vector-based indicators, Shannon entropy performs better than the Gini coefficient, but is sensitive to size. Science and Nature, for example, are indicated at the top of the list. The new diversity measure provides reasonable results when (1 - cosine) is assumed as a measure for the distance, but results using Euclidean distances were difficult to interpret.


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