Bibliometric-based visualizations and maps for technology foresight - a work in progress report
Presentation held at Annual EA Conference "Planning, Prediction, Scenarios - Using Simulations and Maps" 2015, 11-12 May 2015, Bonn, Germany
Technology foresight is an important element of any strategic planning process, since it assists decision makers in identifying and assessing future technologies. One important assumption of this process is that tomorrow's technologies are based on today's daily work in scientific laboratories. Thus the identification and tracking of emerging topics, i.e. the process of technology scanning and monitoring, must be based on a kind of science observatory, that continuously scans all relevant fields of science and technology. As a consequence not so much a lack but contrary a plethora of information forms a challenge for present-day researchers and decision makers. Bibliometric methods and visualizations offer the chance to tackle this ever growing amount of scientific publications by analysing and visualising the structure of the landscape of a specific scientific theme. This work in progress report will give an overview of the ongoing research at the Fraunhofer INT and addresses the question if and how bibliometric methods might enlarge the classic portfolio of technology foresight. First it will discuss the different aspects and phases of a typical technology foresight process. Then it will be demonstrated, how eavesdropping into today's scientific communication by bibliometric means might support this process. To this end a procedure coined "trend archaeology" will be presented. This approach examines historic scientific trends and seeks for specific patterns within their temporal evolution. The proposed method is a multidimensional approach, since it tries to examine multiple aspects of a scientific theme using bibliometrics. Additionally, "trend archaeology" is based on the synoptic inspection of different scientific themes, which emanate from different fields like nanotechnology or materials science. It will be argued that ""trend archaeology"" might be able to provide predictive information, which assists researchers in projecting current developments onto the future - an essential part of any technology foresight process.