Chung-hong Chan, Christiane Grill
The Highs in Communication Research: Research Topics With High Supply, High Popularity, and High Prestige in High-Impact Journals

Communication Research, 2022: 49, issue 5, pp. 599–626
ISSN: 0093-6502 (print), 1552-3810 (online)

More and more scholarly attention is paid to dissecting discipline of communication research under the microscope thereby aiming at revealing foci of scientific interest. The lion’s share of research has hereby focused either on the supply side of research examining what topics scholars write about or at the popularity side of research shedding light on what scientific publications receive the most citations. Building up on this, we argue that these research strands are inadequate to the task of exhaustively identifying foci of scientific interest. Tailoring for the fragmented topical landscape of communication research, we propose an integrative combination of three metrics: supply, popularity, and prestige of research topics. By means of topic modeling, citation counts and citation networks, our study showcases how our approach is able to reveal the intellectual architecture of our discipline in order to identify relevant paths for further scientific inquiry.