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In introduction to HCI class.
Fields, Bridges, and Foundations: How Researchers Browse Citation Network Visualizations

What are the specific elements researchers want to see in a citation network?

Kiroong Choe, Eunhye Kim, Sangwon Park, and Jinwook Seo / 2024



Visualizing citation relations with network structures is widely used, but the visual complexity can make it challenging for individual researchers to navigate through them. We collected data from 18 researchers using an interface that we designed using network simplification methods and analyzed how users browsed and identified important papers. Our analysis reveals six major patterns used for identifying papers of interest, which can be categorized into three key components: Fields, Bridges, and Foundations, each viewed from two distinct perspectives: layout-oriented and connection-oriented. The connection-oriented approach was found to be more effective for selecting relevant papers, but the layout-oriented method was adopted more often, even though it led to unexpected results and user frustration. Our findings emphasize the importance of integrating these components and the necessity to balance visual layouts with meaningful connections to enhance the effectiveness of citation networks in academic browsing systems.


Citation network is inherently complex. This image shows a depth-1 graph of a single paper!

We investigated the specific elements researchers want to see in a citation network (Collected 179 records from N=18 researchers).

Researchers were interested in exploring topics, intersections, and macro trends within these networks from two distinct perspectives.

Layout-oriented perspectives, despite their popularity, were misleading and call for better alignment.