System- und Innovationsforschung ISI
Emerging Research Areas and their Coverage by ERC-supported Projects - ERACEP
ERACEP refers to the research theme "Emerging research areas" within the ‘Coordi-nation and Support Actions (CSAs) of the ERC Work Programme. Its main objective is the identification of topically emerging research areas and to analyse to what extent the activities supported by the ERC cover and contribute to these research areas.
Accordingly, the ERACEP approach is based on the combination of two perspectives. The first perspective concerns the identification of emerging research areas. The second perspective takes the view of ERC funding and explores how ERC-funded research themes map to the identified emerging areas. For the translation of these two perspectives into a research agenda new methodological approaches had to be developed.
For detecting emerging research a bibliometric approach was developed consisting of two building blocks. The first building block comprises the identification of dynamic research fields based on publication activities using the Sharpe Ratio as growth measure.
The second building block designed for the detection of emerging topics within dynamic fields consists of three bibliometric components: a cluster analysis on the fields using a hybrid approach combining bibliographic coupling and textual links, a fine-grained representation of clusters based on core documents and a diachronic analysis of the evolution of links among clusters and topics over time.
Results of the bibliometric analyses were validated via expert interviews.
The fine-mapping methodology was applied to six selected dynamic fields and resulted in the detection of ten emerging topics: brain-computer interface, kinematics, biodiesel, fuel cells, radiation, nano pollution, prenatal diagnosis, environmental health issues, AIDS in Africa, state and region.
Looking at international activities in these topics we observe substantial differences with respect to national contributions and international collaborations amongst the distinct dynamic fields and emerging topics.
For mapping ERC-funded research to the emerging research topics a full-text-matching approach was developed which enables the mapping of grant applications to the data set of publications specifying the identified thematic clusters. This matching methodology has several advantages as the text-based link can be quantified and calculated as soon as an application is submitted. It is using the full body of the text and does not involve passing of the text to extract references that have to be matched with individual papers or journals.
The results of our matching approach, which was carried out for a selected number of thematic fields and emerging topics, indicate that ERC funding indeed is able to address emerging topics.
The ability to identify emerging research topics can be used by the ERC for assisting internal discussions about the structure and scope of different evaluation panels and for supporting the identification of appropriate panel members with the right expertise in emerging topics.
The matching approach of ERACEP can be used in an ex-ante and in an ex-post way during the evaluation procedures. In the ex-ante mode the mapping of applications to distinct topics could facilitate the assignment of applications to evaluation panels after submission. Applications could also be matched with a set of key papers which in turn would allow to better identify the most appropriate external experts which might be included in the evaluation procedures. Finally, a pre-selection of applications would be possible in a sense that applications can be mapped to thematic clusters labelled as "emerging", "established" or even "vanishing". Ex-post results of the mapping exercise can be used for a reflexive assessment of ERC procedures.
European Research Council
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Glänzel, W., Thijs, B. (2011), Using ‘core documents’ for the representation of clusters and topics. Scientometrics, 88(1), 297-309.
Meyer, M., Libaers, D. Thijs, B., Glänzel, W. (2011), The emergence of entrepreneurship as a research field. In: E. Noyons et al. (Eds), Proceedings of ISSI 2011, Durban, South Africa, 552-557.
Glänzel, W. (2012), Bibliometric methods for detecting and analysing emerging research topics. El Profesional de la Información, 21(2), 194-201.
Glänzel, W., Thijs, B. (2012), Using ‘core documents’ for detecting and labelling new emerging topics. Scientometrics, 91(2), 399-416.
Glänzel, W. (2012), The role of core documents in bibliometric network analysis and their relation with h-type indices. Scientometrics, 93(1), 113-123.
Meyer, M., Thijs, B., Libaers, D., Glänzel, W., Granta, K., Debackere, K. (2012), On the Origin and Emergence of Entrepreneurship as a Research Field. In: E. Archambault, Y. Gingras, V. Lariviere (eds), Proceedings of STI 2012 Montreal, Vol. 2, 879-880.