Nanoscience and technology publications and patents: a review of social science studies and search strategies (English)

In: The Journal of Technology Transfer   ;  36 ,  2  ;  145-172  ;  2010

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Abstract We undertake a comprehensive review of more than 120 social science studies on nanotechnology, 90% of which are based on the analyses of the nanotechnology publications and patents. We discussed four intellectual debates formed by these studies, namely whether nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field, whether nanoscience and nanotechnology are closely interlinked, whether nanotechnology development is path dependent and who is winning the global nanorace. We also conduct a comparative analysis of bibliometric search strategies used in the literature to harvest the publications and patents, including lexical queries, evolutionary lexical queries, citation analysis, and the use of core journal sets to identify nanotechnology articles. Because most of the compared strategies, except the one using 10 core journals in the field, share a core set of keywords and thus harvest a common batch of publications, they produce very similar ranking tables of the top subject areas and journals and the most prolific countries and institutions. Moreover, the core journal strategy does not provide a robust delineation of an emerging field such as nanotechnology due to the fact that nanotechnology related articles are published in a wide range of journals. Also, the different criteria for selecting the core journals will affect the analytical results dramatically.

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