Mechanism of Keyword formation in Research Articles on Physics: an Empirical Study


  • West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, 77/2, Park Street; Kolkata 16
  • Department of Library and Information Science, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore 721 102, West Bengal



Single Keyword, Associated Keyword, Contextual Relationship, Information Retrieval, Keyword Cluster Analysis, Keyword Indexing, Associated Keyword Formation Coefficient, Keyword-in-context, Keywords in Physics


This study is based on 5,112 author-assigned 'Associated keywords' culled out from 1,238 research papers selected from eleven different journals of physics published by American Institute of Physics. The research papers from each issue have been chosen by the method of random sampling. All these keywords have been formed from 10,156 single words and/or keywords through 6,718 contextual relationships. The keywords assigned by the respective authors of the concerned articles have only been taken for study, but no keyword was collected from anywhere of any article by either of the Authors of this paper in order to avoid biasness. It has been mathematically established that the formation of 'Associated keywords' from single words and/or keywords depends on contextual relationships exist among different single words and/or keywords. The name given to contextual relationship is 'Alliance potential', and a new parameter has been defined to measure the rate of keyword formation per unit 'Alliance potential'. The name given to this new parameter is 'Associated keyword formation coefficient' or AKFC. This parameter remains constant for a particular journal and varies over different journals. The constancy of AKFC for ten physics journals has been verified and this has been manifested as a characteristic feature of a journal belonging to a specific subject domain.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Hartley, J. & Kostoff, R.N. (2003) How useful are ‘keywords’ in scientific journals? Journal of Information Science. 29: 433–438.

Bottle, R.T. (1970) The information content of titles in engineering literature, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Writing. EWS-13, 1970: 41-45.

Hansen, I. (1972) Evaluation of the database CA condensates compared with chemical titles, Journal of Chemical Documentation. 12: 101-109.

Kraft, D.H. (1964) Comparison of keyword-in-context indexing of titles with a subject-heading classification system, American Documentation. 15: 48-52.

Lancaster, F.W. (1972) Vocabulary Control for Information Retrieval, (Information Resources Press; Washington DC).

Olive, G. & Terry, J.E. & Datta, S. (1973) Studies to compare retrieval using titles with that using index terms, Journal of Documentation. 29: 169-191.

Ruhl, M.J. (1964) Chemical documents and their titles: Human concept indexing vs. KWIC machine indexing, American Documentation. 15: 136-141.

Byrne, J.R. (1975) Relative effectiveness of titles, abstracts and subject headings for machine retrieval from the COMPENDEX services, Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 26: 223-229.

Voorbij, H.J. (1998) Title keywords and subject descriptors: A comparison of subject search entries of books in the humanities and social sciences, Journal of Documentation. 54: 466-476.

Dubois, C.P R. (1987) Free text vs. controlled vocabulary; a reassessment, Online Review. 11: 243-253.

Taylor, A G. (1995) On the subject of subjects, Journal of Academic Librarianship. 21: 484-491.

Bertrand, A & Cellier, J.M. (1995) Psychological approach to indexing effects of the operator’s expertise upon indexing behaviour, Journal of Information Science. 21: 459-472.

Suraud, M.G. et al. (1995) On the significance of databases keywords for a large-scale bibliometric investigation in fundamental physics, Scientometrics. 33: 41-63.

Bates, M.J.; Wilde, D.N. & Siegfried, S. (1993) An analysis of search terminology used by humanities scholars: the Getty Online Searching Project Report, No.1, Library Quarterly. 63: 1-39.

Hurt, C.D. (1997) Classification and subject analysis: looking to the future at a distance, Cataloging and Classification Quarterly. 24: 97-112.

Soergel, D. et al. (2004) Re-engineering thesauri for new applications: the AGROVAC example, Journal of Digital Information. 4. (Also available at:

Juvan, S.; Bartol, T. & Boh, B. (2005) Data structuring and classification in newly-emerging scientific fields, Online Information Review. 29: 483-498. (Also available at:

Dutta, B.; Majumder, K.P. & Sen, B.K. (2008) Classification of keywords extracted from research articles published in science journals. Annals of Library and Information Studies. 55: 317-333.

Dutta, B.; Majumder, K.P. & Sen, B.K. (2009) An analytical model for investigation of some characteristics of the keywords of the subject Fermi liquid: A case study. Annals of Library and Information Studies. 56: 273- 290.

Evans, V. & Green, M. Cognitive linguistics: an introduction, (Edinburgh University Press; Edinburgh), c2006 589-590.


Aronoff, M. & Rees-Miller, J. (2003) The handbook of linguistics, (Oxford: Blackwell).




How to Cite

Dutta, C., & Dutta, B. (2013). Mechanism of Keyword formation in Research Articles on Physics: an Empirical Study. Journal of Information and Knowledge, 50(1), 3–22.
Received 2013-12-27
Accepted 2013-12-27
Published 2013-02-04

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>