When doing a literature review at the start of a process of addressing a specific problem, it's easy to miss related material, if I don't know that it is related.
Let's say I'm looking at a particular electricity-generation problem relating to pollution costs (in a very broad sense), of combustion and cooling: there might be relevant papers about, say, biodiversity and temperature in river water, that I don't know about, and haven't made the connection to, and it appears in a journal well outside the field of electricity generation.
However, within the literature, there will be authors whose papers span those fields: work on valuing biodiversity (so that loss of biodiversity represents a quantifiable cost), and the effect on biodiversity of changing river temperatures (so that using river-cooling in electricity generation, has a deleterious effect on river biodiversity).
It should be possible, by doing an analysis of keywords, of co-authorship, and of journals, to automate the building of a network of subjects and of authors, to map out interconnections between specific narrow subject areas, and find the people that work in those interconnecting areas.
Is there such a network map of subjects and authors, anywhere? Not just for this specific example, but one that spans a very wide range of literature (e.g. Engineering, Science, Technology, Economics). Ideally, one that gets updated frequently, based on ongoing publications?
As I hope the example above illustrates, it has to be:
- easy to interrogate it;
- very detailed on subject linkages; and
- provide links between people as well as subjects.