Quantitative analysis of the dynamics of the scientific, economic and societal impacts of research activities and networks
Scientific research processes have undergone radical changes in recent years as a consequence of modern research techniques and digitalisation. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of scholarly publications, and the fields of research are increasingly problem-oriented, transdisciplinary, and less clearly attributable to a specific area of knowledge.
Key participants in knowledge dynamics include scientists and institutions that promote new ideas and pursue their implementation in science, technology and society. To date, however, few quantitative methodologies have emerged to support an analysis of the processes that also takes into account the convergences between research areas and ‘knowledge collectives’ (cf. Fleck, L.: Entstehung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache [Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact]).
The primary focus of the Q-Aktiv project was to analyse processes of scientific innovation with the aim of describing how results are transferred into the scientific community, business and wider society. The aforementioned convergence processes play a key role in this context. The life sciences offer an excellent example, since they worked together generically long before they were classified as different scientific fields.
ZB MED’s role in the project
ZB MED’s first task in this project was to describe the previously sketched-out dynamics with reference to the example of life sciences and then transfer them to the sphere of economics in collaboration with the project partners. Applying the description to economics paves the way for a systematic comparison of the dynamics and convergences between the scientific disciplines.
The execution of the project relied on text and data mining methods as well as network analyses and other computer science and social science methodologies. Data integration and the development of forecasting methods in the project were based on established theories of technological and industrial dynamics as well as semantic technologies and graph theory.
The study focused on various publication corpora in both the life sciences and economics, comprising a total of over 50 million metadata and 10 million full texts in articles and patent specifications.
1 July 2018 - 30 June 2021
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
- University of Kiel, Chair of Technology Management (Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Carsten Schultz)
- ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics