SciVal – What are the current trends in research? 

In the second part of this series, we have discussed about the Benchmarking module in SciVal, which allows you to compare the performance of peers based on analytics of past research. The Trends module in SciVal instead focuses on the future, whereby it uses usage data to give an early indication of emerging and declining topics in a particular research area. 

The trends module provides a snapshot of the performance for the research area that you have created. A word cloud visualisation is automatically generated based on the important keyphrases in a research area. These keyphrases were extracted using text mining and Natural Language Processing techniques within a research area1. Each keyphrase is then given a relevance between 0 and 1, where values closer to 0 is less frequently occurring and values closer to 1 is more frequently occurring. 

Figure 11: Word cloud visualisation on relevant keyphrases in research area 

You can also identify top growing institutions within a research area using Trends module. Simply select the metrics that you are interested in and filter by “Percentage Growth or Decline”. The upward facing triangle marker corresponds to positive growth and the downward triangle indicates the opposite. 

Figure 12: Percentage growth of decline in different research areas 

Rather than just analysing a single topic, you can also conduct a portfolio analysis to identify topics across that your institution is currently active in. You will also be able to determine which topics that have high momentum through analysis of 96,000 Topics and 1,500 Topic Clusters that are available in SciVal.  

Prominence is an indicator of the momentum of a particular topic based on three metrics: citations, views and CiteScore. Prominence does not signify “Importance”. Prominence predicts funding, whereby a higher momentum topic receives more funding per researcher2. 

Topics and topic prominence are pretty complex components of SciVal. To read more about how SciVal creates these topics, what it means and how to interpret them, refer to the SciVal help guide here:  

 Figure 13: The topic wheel provides an overview of all the topics that an institution are active in. 

Figure 14: The table view lists down all the topics and provides additional metrics for analysis 

We’ve almost come to the end of this SciVal blog series. The last blog will be on how to create customized reports in SciVal. 

Refer to our previous posts on our introduction to SciVal, using SciVal’s benchmarking module and finding collaborators on SciVal. 

Want to learn more about how you can identify research topics in SciVal? Sign up for our upcoming Researcher Unbound workshop on 5 October 10:00 am where we will share more about how you can use SciVal to identify top or potential collaborators and spot research trends. 

If you need more assistance on Research Impact Measurement, refer to our library guide here:  


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