Skip to Main Content
Syracuse University Libraries

Data Visualization with VOSviewer

What is VOSviewer?

VOSviewer is a software tool which can be used to conduct bibliometric analyses and create visualizations from selected databases, RIS files, and APIs. It was developed by Nees Jan van Eck and Ludo Waltman at Leiden University's Centre for Science and Technology Studies.

VOS is an acronym for Visualization of Similarities. 

Using VOSviewer within the Dimensions database

Dimensions is a database including publications, awarded grants, patents, clinical trials, and policy documents. It has embedded visualizations to use with the data, including VOSviewer.

Steps for generating a VOSviewer report within Dimensions:

1. Create a set of data that you would like to develop into a visualization, for example, data from a group of researchers.

2. The results of the data will be featured in the main part of the page. 

3. On the right, there is a window, Analytical Views. Click on the arrow to the left of Analytical Views to bring it over to the main part of the page.

4. Click Researchers, and then Network. You could also click other categories showing different visualizations: Source Titles, Funders, Research Organizations, and Places.

5. The default network is a co-authorship analysis, but then can be changed by clicking the drop-down to citation analysis.

6. The researcher name can be clicked for an individual count of co-authorship links, total co-authorships, publications, and their color-coded cluster.

7. The interface of the VOSviewer visualization can be changed to dark from the default light interface.

8. To save, click the Save icon, or click Screenshot to then save. 



VOSviewer Importing Tools

These tools can be used to search data or collect stored data, such as a set of publications, and then imported into VOSviewer to create data visualizations by authors, journal topics, published topics of researchers, and more.

Bibliographic Databases



Advantages of using VOSviewer with the import sources

  • It can provide a easier way of keeping up with literature and/or prominent researchers in a particular field.
  • It can be used to show collaborative networks of researchers or topics
  • It can be used for benchmarking or to show impacts of highly cited papers or researchers
  • It can used to show journal topics and multiple journals and their topics and any collaborative indicators due to citations

For questions and assistance

If you have questions about or need assistance with VOSviewer, contact the Research Impact Team.