Computational literature reviews with R

A literature review is a central part of any research project, allowing the existing research to be mapped and new research questions to be asked. However, due to the limitations of human data processing, the literature review can suffer from an inability to handle large volumes of research articles. The computational literature review (CLR) automates the analysis of research articles with analyses of:

  • impact (citation analysis, e.g., H-index)
  • structure (co-authorship social network analysis)


  • content (topic modeling of article abstracts)


The CLR software can be used to support three use cases: (1) analysis of the literature for a research area, (2) analysis and ranking of journals, and (3) analysis and ranking of individual scholars and research teams.

The CLR and is explained and illustrated using a set of 3,386 articles related to the technology acceptance model (TAM) in:

Mortenson, M., and Vidgen, R., (2016). A computational literature review of the technology acceptance model. International Journal of Information Management, 36: 1248 – 1259

The CLR is an open source offering, developed in the statistical programming language R, and made freely available to researchers to use and develop further.The code for the CLR is available from GitHub.


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