Empirical analysis of recent temporal dynamics of research fields: Annual publications in chemistry and related areas as an example

01/12/2022
by   Lutz Bornmann, et al.
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Changes in the number of publications in a certain field might reflect the dynamic of scientific progress in this field, since an increase in the number of publications can be interpreted as an increase in the field-specific knowledge. In this paper, we present a methodological approach to analyse the dynamics of science on lower aggregation levels, i.e., the level of research fields. Our trend analysis approach is able to uncover very recent trends, and the methods used to study the trends are simple to understand for the possible recipients of the results. In order to demonstrate the trend analysis approach, we focused in this study on the annual number of publications (and patents) in chemistry (and related areas) between 2014 and 2020 identifying those fields in chemistry with the highest dynamics (largest rates of change in publication counts). The study is based on the mono-disciplinary literature database CAplus. Our results reveal that the number of publications in the CAplus database is increasing since many years. Research regarding optical phenomena and electrochemical technologies was found to be among the emerging topics in recent years.

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