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Review of "Towards indicating interdisciplinarity: Characterizing interdisciplinary knowledge flow"

Published onJun 03, 2023
Review of "Towards indicating interdisciplinarity: Characterizing interdisciplinary knowledge flow"

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I am glad to see the major improvements made by the authors in the third version of their work. I have a few remaining comments.

Most importantly, the homogeneity indicator is not defined in a clear way. In Section 3.3, the authors state that they “define the homogeneity of X citing Y as the percentage of references of X that are co-cited by Y”. However, this is not consistent with Eq. (4). This equation may yield values above 1 and it therefore doesn’t provide percentages. For instance, suppose that X has only one outgoing citation, and Y has two outgoing citations. Suppose that these three citations all cite the same publication. H(X, Y) will then be equal to 2 / 1 = 2.

In Section 3.5, the authors claim that “entities with greater interdisciplinarity are therefore expected to associate with greater broadness (widely influenced by other fields), greater intensity (intensively influenced by other fields), and greater homogeneity (greater cognitive similarity in the knowledge base with other fields) since they engage more actively in knowledge integration”. I think this makes sense for broadness and intensity, but for homogeneity I don’t understand this. It seems to me that greater homogeneity reflects lower a level of knowledge integration, not a higher level.

In Section 5, the authors explain that they used the Web of Science database. It would be helpful if the authors could also mention the specific citation indexes within this database that were used. For instance, was the Emerging Sources Citation Index used or not?

The third paragraph in Section 7 is very long (a full page). To improve readability, my suggestion is to split this paragraph into multiple shorter paragraphs.

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