IX.9 Identifying Emerging Topics in Science and Technology

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Kevin W. Boyack

Richard Klavans

Henry G. Small

Frequent contributors to the exhibit, Kevin W. Boyack and Richard Klavans create maps of science that are useful for planning and evaluation on national, corporate, and personal levels. Together with Henry G. Small, the creator of the very first map of all of science (1996 Map of Science, featured in the first iteration of this exhibit), Boyack and Klavans have developed a novel approach to identifying emerging topics in science and technology. Two models of science and technology have been created using 20 million Scopus papers and 3 million patents from USPTO published in 1996-2011. These two models—one based on direct citation, and one based on co-citation—are used together to nominate the most emergent clusters of documents at a particular point in time. Each map was created using a multistep process in which 1) papers from Scopus were clustered using citation characteristics, 2) patents were clustered separately using citation characteristics, 3) a map was created using the OpenOrd graph layout routine to combine paper clusters and patent clusters using a cluster-to-cluster BM25 text similarity measure, and (4) a difference function was used to identify which clusters are most emergent based on where papers occur in both maps. A detailed analysis shows that the emerging topics can be classified as either scientific discoveries or technological innovations, and confirms that the identified emerging topics have high face validity.


Boyack, Kevin W., Richard Klavans, and Henry G. Small. 2013. Identifying Emerging Topics in Science and Technology. Albuquerque, NM & Berwyn, PA. Courtesy of SciTech Strategies, Inc. In “9th Iteration (2013): Science Maps Showing Trends and Dynamics,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Todd N. Theriault. http://scimaps.org.

Small, Henry G., Kevin W. Boyack, and Richard Klavans. 2013. "Identifying Emerging Topics by Combining Direct Citation and Co-Citation." In Proceedings of ISSI 2013 Vienna 1:928-940. Vienna: The Austrian Institute of Technology Press.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.