Visualizing research impact through citation data

Yong Wang, Conglei Shi, Liangyue Li, Hanghang Tong, Huamin Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research impact plays a critical role in evaluating the research quality and influence of a scholar, a journal, or a conference. Many researchers have attempted to quantify research impact by introducing different types of metrics based on citation data, such as h-index, citation count, and impact factor. These metrics are widely used in the academic community. However, quantitative metrics are highly aggregated in most cases and sometimes biased, which probably results in the loss of impact details that are important for comprehensively understanding research impact. For example, which research area does a researcher have great research impact on? How does the research impact change over time? How do the collaborators take effect on the research impact of an individual? Simple quantitative metrics can hardly help answer such kind of questions, since more detailed exploration of the citation data is needed. Previous work on visualizing citation data usually only shows limited aspects of research impact and may suffer from other problems including visual clutter and scalability issues. To fill this gap, we propose an interactive visualization tool, ImpactVis, for better exploration of research impact through citation data. Case studies and in-depth expert interviews are conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of ImpactVis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Publication and citation
  • Research impact
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Artificial Intelligence


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