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Computer-assisted roadmapping: a case study in energy research

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PurposeThe aim of this paper is to develop a methodology of computer-assisted roadmapping to supplement an expert-based approach, which is time-consuming and subjective. Design/methodology/approachA computer-based approach using citation network analysis is used to depict technology trends, and build the first draft of science and technology roadmaps. A case study in energy research is performed, and emerging research domains are tracked in it by citation network analysis. FindingsThe analysis confirms that the fuel cell and solar cell are rapidly growing domains in energy research. The detailed research structures were investigated further by clustering. Each citation cluster has characteristic research topics, and there is a variety of growth trends among the clusters. Research limitations/implicationsConstructing a corpus to analyze is not an easy task and one that affects the results, and therefore further research to evaluate the adequacy and validity of the corpus before citation network analysis is necessary. Including patents and analyzing relationships between academic papers and patents for roadmapping is a challenging future research topic. Practical implicationsWhile science and technology roadmaps are an attractive tool in R&D management and have been widely used, they are typically constructed by gathering and stimulating expert opinion and therefore highly time-consuming. As demonstrated in this paper, a computer-based approach using citation network analysis is a powerful tool to support roadmapping. By using the approach, planners and R&D managers can make decisions on effective investment in promising and emerging technologies, especially under circumstances of limited resources with the broader coverage of scientific and technological research. Originality/valueBy using citation network analysis, we can track emerging research domains among a range of publications efficiently and effectively.
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Keywords: Forecasting; Modelling; Research and development; Research work; Sciences

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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