Visual exploration of scientific literature with VOSviewer

Professional skills courses


It is essential for PhD candidates and researchers generally to have an up-to-date understanding of the literature in their research field. However, keeping up with all relevant literature and obtaining a good overview of a research field can be challenging and highly time consuming. Bibliometric visualizations support this task. These visualizations provide intuitive overviews of the literature in a research field, enabling researchers to obtain a better understanding of the structure and development of a field and to get an impression of the most significant contributions made in the field.

Course information

ECTS: 1.5
Number of sessions: 2
Hours per session: 4

Key Facts & Figures

Instruction language
Mode of instruction

What will you achieve?

  • After the course, you will know how to download data from bibliographic databases such as Web of Science and Scopus.
  • After the course, you will know how to create bibliometric visualizations with the VOSviewer software.
  • After the course, you will know how to use these visualizations for exploring the scientific literature in a research field.

Sessions (online)

Session 1
December 5 (Tuesday) 2023
Online (Teams)

Session 2
December 7 (Thursday) 2023
​​​​​​​Online (Teams)

Aims and working method

In this course, PhD candidates will be introduced to the VOSviewer software for bibliometric visualization. Students will get hands-on experience in creating visualizations of their own research field. They will also be trained in interpreting these visualizations and in using them to deepen their understanding of their area of research.

Session descriptions

  • Introduction to bibliometric visualization and the VOSviewer software;
  • Bibliographic data sources;
  • Co-authorship and citation-based maps.

  • Term/keyword co-occurrence maps;
  • Overlay visualizations. 

Example of Vosviewer output

VOS overview with lines and dots overview of a VOS map with blue and yellow labels


  • Nees Jan van Eck
    Nees Jan van Eck is a senior researcher at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University. Nees Jan is doing research in the field of bibliometrics. He is the main developer of the VOSviewer software.


Facts & Figures

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €300,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information
Not applicable
Offered by
Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities
Course type
Instruction language
Mode of instruction

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