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Regular version of the site

Article

How the analysis of transitionary references in knowledge networks and their centrality characteristics helps in understanding the genesis of growing technology areas

Scientometrics. 2017. Vol. 111. No. 3. P. 1947-1963.

Since early 1960s, there has been a growing interest in the emergence and development of new technologies accompanied by a strong wish from decision makers to govern related processes at the corporate and national levels. One of the key categories that appeared to set up analytical and regulatory frameworks was the ‘advanced technology’ category. Primarily associated with computer electronics and microelectronics, it soon had new meanings derived from a variety of professional discussions primarily in the social sciences. Later in a new term, ‘emerging technologies’, appeared to highlight the speed of change in a wide range of promising research areas. This paper focuses on the evolution of academic discussions concerning advanced and emerging technologies in social sciences literature for the period from 1955 until 2015. In order to identify whether studies in these areas constitute separate research fields, the paper studies the evolution of co-citation networks and the centrality characteristics of transitionary references. It was shown that social studies in emerging technologies demonstrate better consistency in background in literature. However, an analysis of transitionary references and their centrality characteristics can hardly confirm the existence of separate research fields in both cases. The suggested method for the identification and tracking of papers mediating ongoing discussions in a selected knowledge network may be helpful in understanding the evolution of weakly conceptualized and growing research areas.