ArXiv is an online archive that stores hundreds of thousands of scientific papers in physics, mathematics, and other fields. The citations in those papers link to one another, forming a web, but you’re not going to see those connections just by sifting through the archive.
So physicist Damien George and Ph.D student Rob Knegjens took it on themselves to create Paperscape, an interactive infographic that beautifully and intuitively charts the papers.
The infographic is a mass of circles. Each circle represents a paper, and the bigger a circle is, the more highly cited it is. The papers are color-coded by discipline–pink for astrophysics, yellow for math, etc.–and papers that share many of the same citations are placed closer together.
Although it’s a little tough to make out, there’s also an option to map the papers by age. The circles all turn red, and the brighter each circle is, the newer the paper is.
If you’re looking to find a specific paper in this, well, good luck–it’s not organized to be particularly searchable. But if you want to skim the most cited papers in the archive by clicking around on the biggest circles you can spot, or just want to see how no scientific field is an island, then you can check out the full infographic here.