Authors: Minjeong Shin, Alexander Soen, Benjamin T. Readshaw, Stephen Michael Blackburn, Mitchell Whitelaw, Lexing Xie
Abstract: We present the Influence Flower, a new visual metaphor for the influence profile of academic entities, including people, projects, institutions, conferences and journals. While many tools quantify influence, we aim to expose the flow of influence between entities. The Influence Flower is an ego-centric graph, with a query entity placed in the centre. The petals are styled to reflect the strength of influence to and from other entities of the same or different type. For example, one can break down the incoming and outgoing influences of a research lab by research topics. The Influence Flower uses a recent snapshot of Microsoft Academic Graph, consisting of 200+ million authors, their publications, and 1+ billion citations. An interactive web app, InfluenceMap, is constructed around this central metaphor for searching and curating visualisations. We also propose a visual comparison method that highlights change in influence patterns over time. We demonstrate through several case studies that the Influence Flower supports data-driven inquiries about researchers’ careers over time; about paper(s) and projects, including those with delayed recognition; about the interdisciplinary profile of a research institution; about the shifting topical trends in conferences. We also use this tool on influence data beyond academic citations, by contrasting the academic and Twitter activities of a researcher.