Introducing scite VisualizationsA new way to look at a field of research.

Tue Sep 22 2020

Citations are a critical part of scientific publishing. They are used to provide background on research and contextualize findings, to indicate methods and protocols used, to dispute or support previous work, and much more. Through them, we can better understand scientific findings in the context of the broader literature. Properly evaluating a finding from a scientific article can be difficult and cumbersome as it requires a thorough reading of all citing articles, manually understanding what they say about the article of interest, and using that to inform a proper understanding of the reliability of the original finding. In the past, we released Smart Citations, snippets that show how other articles cite an article of interest, and whether they support or dispute the original article’s findings. We’ve called this ability a superpower because we think empowering researchers with a wealth of information into something that can be easily and reliably digestible is extremely powerful for looking at individual articles and journals.

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of scite Visualizations, a tool that lets you explore citation networks so you can see how articles have been cited in an interactive citation network.

This new feature will allow you to start with a paper of interest and see how it cites other papers and how it is cited by others. You can see that visually through the direction of each arrow, and on the panel to the left which shows the citation snippets for each article that cites the selected paper. Find something interesting? You can expand that node to see how it has been cited, how it cites others, and add its network to the main visualization by clicking the “+” sign. This allows users to look at multiple papers at once and easily see what they say about each other.

Because our Smart Citations come with a citation context and a classification about whether this citation context provides supporting or disputing evidence, these visualizations are more than just a nice way to visualize related papers. They let you see exactly how articles cite one another. This can be used for literature review, discovering how articles influence one another, and to trace scientific findings visually or as we like to call it, “surfing the citation web.”

We have more plans for improving these visualizations but want to release them early so that we can collect feedback from you. What would you like to see or do with these visualizations? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or by emailing us at Happy surfing!