Group identity: What makes us ‘us’? [White paper]

What defines our emotional response to the COVID-19 pandemic? We discuss a new area of research gaining significant interest worldwide. Download our new white paper for more information, and learn how a similar analysis can inform horizon scanning, funding focus and more.


COVID-19 has changed the way we live. We’ve been forced inside, isolated from friends and family, and left struggling to maintain the social connections that bind us together. Alex Haslam, a Highly Cited Researcher as recognized by Clarivate™, and professor of psychology at University of Queensland, hones in on this loss of connection in his work. He says our ability to cope with social distancing is tied to our sense of shared identity, and how our world leaders have mobilized a sense of “us-ness.”


Alex’s work forms part of a powerful new Research Front, gaining significant interest over the past decade. Download our white paper to learn more, and discover how this front evolved, where it might be heading and who’s leading the way.


Click here to download Group identity: what makes us ‘us’


What is a Research Front?

In 1981, Dr. Eugene Garfield and Henry Small of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)™ introduced the Atlas of Science, an ambitious effort to map out the frontiers of research. In the Atlas, they used co-citation clustering (clusters of articles that are cited by the same articles) of recently published highly cited articles to map out “Research Fronts.” Within the sphere of human knowledge, these Research Fronts represent areas of significant current interest.


Why we’re looking back to the Atlas of Science—and where we’re taking it

For each research front in the Atlas of Science, the ISI painstakingly put together a summary of the Research Front (explaining its relevance), a visualization of the relationship between key papers in the front and reference lists of the core papers and recent citing papers.



In many ways, the Atlas was ahead of its time. Publication ceased in the late 80s. However, Research Fronts have lived on, hidden away deep within the Web of Science Essential Science Indicators™.


“The sustained interest we’ve seen in the years since highlight the enduring power and versatility of the knowledge one can extract from the citation network.”


The sustained interest we’ve seen in the years since highlights the enduring power and versatility of the knowledge one can extract from the Web of Science™. For example, in recent years we’ve seen research fronts used to inform horizon scanning, funding focus and research program analysis (learn more here).

The value of Research Fronts is clear and we’re excited to showcase it in action. See our ‘feedback’ section below for how you can be part of this decision.


Group identity as a Research Front

This white paper highlights a new and exciting topic, Group identity: what makes us ‘us’? and lays out the importance of group membership for how individuals develop. This topic has developed rapidly over the last decade and become even more important in the context of the social distancing necessitated by COVID-19.

Alex Haslam teases out this connection in his summary of the Research Front, while we visualize the interaction between fields, and the key research paving the way.



Feedback and more information

If you like what you see, please consider providing feedback on this new white paper structure and guidance. We are interested to know whether you would like to see this information made available within the Web of Science itself. You can access our survey here.

This document was made with the help of our Web of Science consultancy team. Contact our team of experts now to achieve your research mission, including horizon-scanning, understanding research trajectory and more. You can also read our complimentary report to discover hot and emerging research areas to shape your institution’s strategic direction or sign up for our on-demand webinar, Develop your future research portfolio through horizon scanning.


Click here to download Group identity: what makes us ‘us’