Lessons from Ten Years of Nanotechnology Bibliometric Analysis
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This paper summarizes the 10-year experiences of the Program in Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in support of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) in understanding, characterizing, and conveying the development of nanotechnology research and application. This work was labeled “Research and Innovation Systems Assessment” or (RISA) by CNS-ASU. RISA concentrates on identifying and documenting quantifiable aspects of nanotechnology, including academic, commercial/industrial, and government nanoscience and nanotechnology (nanotechnologies) activity, research, and projects. RISA at CNS-ASU engaged in the first systematic attempt of its kind to define, characterize, and track a field of science and technology. A key element to RISA was the creation of a replicable approach to bibliometrically defining nanotechnology. Researchers in STIP, and beyond, could then query the resulting datasets to address topical areas ranging from basic country and regional concentrations of publications and patents, to findings about social science literature, environmental, health, and safety research and usage, to study corporate entry into nanotechnology, and to explore application areas as special interests arose. Key features of the success of the program include: Having access to “large-scale” R&D abstract datasets Analytical software A portfolio that balances innovative long-term projects, such as webscraping to understand nanotechnology developments in small and medium-sized companies, with research characterizing the emergence of nanotechnology that more readily produces articles Relationships with diverse networks of scholars and companies working in the nanotechnology science and social science domains An influx of visiting researchers A strong core of students with social science, as well as some programming background A well-equipped facility and management by the principals through weekly problem-solving meetings, mini-deadlines, and the production journal articles rather than thick final reports.