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Abstract

The mapping of scientific fields, based on principles established in the seventies, has recently shown a remarkable development and applications are now booming with progress in computing efficiency. We examine here the convergence of two thematic mapping approaches, citation-based and word-based, which rely on quite different sociological backgrounds. A corpus in the nanoscience field was broken down into research themes, using the same clustering technique on the 2 networks separately. The tool for comparison is the table of intersections of the M clusters (here M=50) built on either side. A classical visual exploitation of such contingency tables is based on correspondence analysis. We investigate a rearrangement of the intersection table (block modeling), resulting in pseudo-map. The interest of this representation for confronting the two breakdowns is discussed. The amount of convergence found is, in our view, a strong argument in favor of the reliability of bibliometric mapping. However, the outcomes are not convergent at the degree where they can be substituted for each other. Differences highlight the complementarity between approaches based on different networks. In contrast with the strong informetric posture found in recent literature, where lexical and citation markers are considered as miscible tokens, the framework proposed here does not mix the two elements at an early stage, in compliance with their contrasted logic.