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Scientific production has increased exponentially in recent years. It is necessary to find methodological strategies for understanding holistic or macro views of the major research trends developed in specific fields. Data mining is a useful technique to address this task. In particular, our study presents a global analysis of the information generated during last decades in the Sport Sciences Category (SSC) included in the Web of Science database.

An analysis of the frequency of appearance and the dynamics of the Author Keywords (AKs) has been made for the last thirty years. Likewise, the network of co-occurrences established between words and the survival time of new words that have appeared since 2001 has also been analysed. One of the main findings of our research is the identification of six large thematic clusters in the SSC. There are also two major terms that coexist (‘REHABILITATION’ and ‘EXERCISE’) and show a high frequency of appearance, as well as a key behaviour in the calculated co-occurrence networks.

Another significant finding is that AKs are mostly accepted in the SSC since there has been high percentage of new terms during 2001–2006, although they have a low survival period. These results support a multidisciplinary perspective within the Sport Sciences field of study and a colonization of the field by rehabilitation according to our AK analysis.

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