Earlier experiments in the use of co-citations to cluster theScience citation Indey (SCI) database are reviewed. Two proposed improvements in the methodology are introduced: fractional citation counting and variable level clustering with a maximum cluster size limit. Results of an experiment using the 1979SCI are described comparing the new methods with those previously employed. It is found that fractional citation counting helps reduce the bias toward high referencing fields such as biomedicine and biochemistry inherent in the use of an integer citation count threshold, and increases the range of subject matters covered by clusters. Variable level clustering, on the other hand, increases recall as measured by the percentage of highly cited items included in clusters. It is concluded that the two new methods used in combination will improve our ability to generate comprehensive maps of science as envisioned byDerek Price. This topic will be discussed in a forthcoming paper.
Previous attempts to map science using the co-citation clustering methodology are reviewed, and their shortcomings analyzed. Two enhancements of the methodology presented in Part I of the paper-fractional citation counting and variable level clustering—are briefly described and a third enhancement, the iterative clustering of clusters, is introduced. When combined, these three techniques improve our ability to generate comprehensive and representative mappings of science across the multidisciplinaryScience Citation Index (SCI) data base. Results of a four step analysis of the 1979SCI are presented, and the resulting map at the fourth iteration is described in detail. The map shows a tightly integrated network of approximate disciplinary regions, unique in that for the first time links between mathematics and biomedical science have brought about a closure of the previously linear arrangement of disciplines. Disciplinary balance between biomedical and physical science has improved, and the appearance of less cited subject areas, such as mathematics and applied science, makes this map the most comprehensive one yet produced by the co-citation methodology. Remaining problems and goals for future work are discussed.