Data archives are an important source of high-quality data in many fields, making them ideal sites to study data reuse. By studying data reuse through citation networks, we are able to learn how hidden research communities – those that use the same scientific datasets – are organized. This paper analyzes the community structure of an authoritative network of datasets cited in academic publications, which have been collected by a large, social science data archive: the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Through network analysis, we identified communities of social science datasets and fields of research connected through shared data use. We argue that communities of exclusive data reuse form “subdivisions” that contain valuable disciplinary resources, while datasets at a “crossroads” broadly connect research communities. Our research reveals the hidden structure of data reuse and demonstrates how interdisciplinary research communities organize around datasets as shared scientific inputs. These findings contribute new ways of describing scientific communities in order to understand the impacts of research data reuse.

Peer Review

https://publons.com/publon/10.1162/qss_a_00209

This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes

Handling Editor: Ludo Waltman

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview