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.
Song, H., Eberl, J. M., & Eisele, O. (2020). Less fragmented than we thought? toward clarification of a subdisciplinary linkage in communication science, 2010-2019. Journal of Communication, 70(3), 310–334. https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqaa009