A decade of Semantic Web research through the lenses of a mixed methods approach

Tracking #: 2242-3455

Sabrina Kirrane
Marta Sabou
Javier D. Fernandez
Francesco Osborne
Cécile Robin
Paul Buitelaar
Enrico Motta
Axel Polleres

Responsible editor: 
Christoph Schlieder

Submission type: 
Full Paper
The identification of research topics and trends is an important scientometric activity, as it can help guide the direction of future research. In the Semantic Web area, initially topic and trend detection was primarily performed through qualitative, top-down style approaches, that rely on expert knowledge. More recently, data-driven, bottom-up approaches have been proposed that offer a quantitative analysis of the evolution of a research domain. In this paper, we aim to provide a broader and more complete picture of Semantic Web topics and trends by adopting a mixed methods methodology, which allows for the combined use of both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Concretely, we build on a qualitative analysis of the main seminal papers, which adopt a top-down approach, and on quantitative results derived with three bottom-up data-driven approaches (Rexplore, Saffron, PoolParty), on a corpus of Semantic Web papers published between 2006 and 2015. In this process, we both use the latter for “fact-checking” on the former and also to derive key findings in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of top-down and bottom up approaches to research topic identification. Although we provide a detailed study on the past decade of Semantic Web research, the findings and the methodology are relevant not only for our community but beyond the area of the Semantic Web to other research fields as well.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Christoph Schlieder submitted on 26/Aug/2019
Review Comment:

The authors have thoroughly addressed the issues raised by the anonymous third review. In particular, they have improved the text by (1) including references to research in scientometrics, (2) adding descriptive statistics for the corpus , (3) rephrasing the explanations for their choice of science mapping tools, (4) expanding the future work section with respect to scientometric techniques.

In addition, they have clarified some misunderstandings in their cover letter regarding the temporal planning of their research, the topic mapping software, and the Semantic Web Venues corpus. I think that all the reviewer's concerns have been addressed and that the article is ready for publication in its present form.

Review #2
Anonymous submitted on 01/Sep/2019
Review Comment:

Authors have addressed the majority of my comments and suggestions. Just, please, revise the bibliography and place the correct names. For example, the first name in reference 10 and 11 is incorrect. It should be "Manuel J. Cobo".