An overview of scientometric mapping for the safety science community: Methods, tools, and framework

Jie Li, Floris Goerlandt*, Genserik Reniers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Scientometrics analysis is increasingly applied across scientific domains to gain quantitative insights in the development of research on particular (sub-)domains of scientific inquiry. By visualizing metrics containing quantitative information about such a domain, scientometric mapping allows researchers to gain insights in aspects thereof. Methods have been developed to answer specific research questions, focusing e.g. on collaboration networks, thematic research clusters, historic evolution patterns, and trends in topics addressed. Several articles applying scientometric mapping to safety-related topics have been published. In context of the Special Issue ‘Mapping Safety Science – Reviewing Safety Research’, this article first reviews these, and subsequently provides an overview of key concepts, methods, and tools for scientometric mapping. Data sources and freely available tools are introduced, focusing on which research questions these are suited to answer. A brief tutorial-style description of a scientometrics research process is provided, guiding researchers new to this method how to engage with it. Finally, a discussion on best practices in scientometric mapping research is made, focusing on how to obtain reliable and valid results, and how to use the scientometric maps to gain meaningful insights. It is hoped that this work can advance the application of scientometric research within the safety science community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105093
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bibliometrics
  • Mapping knowledge domains
  • Safety science
  • Science mapping
  • Scientometrics


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