Less fragmented than we thought? toward clarification of a subdisciplinary linkage in communication science, 2010-2019

Hyunjin Song, Jakob Moritz Eberl, Olga Eisele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


With the explosive growth in research topics, communication science is said to be more fragmented and hyper-specialized than ever before, producing an increasing number of small, niche research topics that lack intellectual coherence as a whole. While such issues have been a central concern for the field, there has been a relative lack of systematic effort to map the topical interconnections among different communication science subfields, answering the question of how they remain empirically fragmented. Using full-texts of scholarly articles published in the top 20 communication science journals from 2010 to 2019, we provide systematic evidence to such claims in terms of their actual contents and their connectivity patterns. Drawing on extant works concerning the sociology of science and structures of scientific knowledge, as well as on topic modeling and simulation-based inferences on network topological features, we find that subdisciplinary linkage in communication is more frequent than we often think.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-334
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Jörg Matthes, Hajo Boomgaarden, Katjana Gattermann, Loes Aaldering, Brigitte Naderer, Verena Brändle, Raffael Heiss, Christine Meltzer, and Peter Tolochko for providing valuable feedback on the earlier version of the manuscript. We also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticism and suggestions on improving the manuscript. All remaining errors are the sole responsibility of the authors. This research was partly supported by the Graduate Center of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna. We also acknowledge the funding support provided to Olga Eisele by the Austrian Science Fund under the Hertha-Firnberg-Program [Grant no: T-989]. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Communication Association.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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