Accepted Paper:

Co-word Maps and Topic Modeling: A Comparison from a User's Perspective  

Authors:

Loet Leydesdorff (University of Amsterdam)
Adina Nerghes

Paper short abstract:

The results from co-word mapping (using two different routines) versus topic modeling are significantly uncorrelated. Whereas components in the co-word maps can easily be designated, the coloring of the nodes according to the results of the topic model provides maps that are difficult to interpret.

Paper long abstract:

Induced by "big data," "topic modeling" has become an attractive alternative to mapping co-words in terms of co-occurrences and co-absences using network techniques. We return to the word/document matrix using first a single text with a strong argument ("The Leiden Manifesto") and then upscale to a sample of moderate size (n = 687) to study the pros and cons of the two approaches in terms of the resulting possibilities for making semantic maps that can serve an argument. The results from co-word mapping (using two different routines) versus topic modeling are significantly uncorrelated. Whereas components in the co-word maps can easily be designated, the coloring of the nodes according to the results of the topic model provides maps that are difficult to interpret. In these samples, the topic models seem to reveal similarities other than semantic ones (e.g., linguistic ones). In other words, topic modeling does not replace co-word mapping.

Panel T035
ICT and STS knowledge diffusion: actor's (publishers, authors, editors) strategies, critics and trends