Studying research fronts enables researchers to understand how their academic fields emerged, how they are currently developing and their changes over time. While topic modelling tools help discover themes in documents, they employ a “bag-of-words” approach and require researchers to manually label categories, specify the number of topics a priori, and make assumptions about word distributions in documents. This paper proposes an alternative approach based on entity linking, which links word strings to entities from a knowledge base, to help solve issues associated with “bag-of-words” approaches by automatically identifying topics based on entity mentions. To study topic trends and popularity, we use four indicators—Mann–Kendall’s test, Sen’s slope analysis, z-score values and Kleinberg’s burst detection algorithm. The combination of these indicators helps us understand which topics are particularly active (“hot” topics), which are decreasing (“cold” topics or past “bursty” topics) and which are maturely developed. We apply the approach and indicators to the fields of Information Science and Accounting.
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- Content Analysis and Indexing
- Entity annotation
- Information Storage and Retrieval
- Natural Language Processing
- Text analysis