, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 535–553 | Cite as

A comparison of citation contexts between natural sciences and social sciences and humanities

  • Yu-Wei Chang


This study uses the method of citation context analysis to compare differences in citation contexts, including cited concepts and citation functions, between natural sciences (NS) and social sciences and humanities (SSH), based on articles citing Little Science, Big Science (LSBS) published between 1963 and 2010. The findings indicate that NS and SSH researchers frequently cite LSBS as a source that is related to a specific topic and as evidence to support a claim. No significant differences were identified in the distribution of cited concepts included in LSBS, but significant differences were observed in the reasons for citing LSBS between NS and SSH citing articles. However, reverse trends were observed in the percentage of some cited concepts and citation functions between NS and SSH, which implies that subtle differences in citation behavior exist between NS and SSH researchers. In addition, each concept category has a different half-life. Concepts related to characteristics of big science and scientific collaboration have the longest half-lives.


Citation contexts Natural sciences Social sciences and humanities 



This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC100-2628-H-030-045).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Library and Information ScienceNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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