On the use of bibliometric indicators for the analysis of emerging topics and their evolution: Spin-offs as a case study




Palabras clave:

Spin-offs, University, Bibliometrics, Indicators, Network analysis, Emerging topics, Topic evolution, Co-citation.


Spin-offs are one of the most attractive areas of research; associated with the phenomena of entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge transfer. The present study shows that the selection and use of appropriate bibliometric indicators are a highly valuable method for studying emerging topics and analyzing the development and diffusion of the topic under research, including its process of emergence and growth. The primary aspects observed in relation to the development of university spin-off research includes the boom in the number of publications on the topic after a long period of latency and the pronounced multidisciplinary nature of the research. Our approach encompasses the evolution of scientific publication activity in the area, the scientific agents involved with it, and the cooperative practices and structural characteristics of the co-authorship network at different analytical levels. Also, this research explores cited literature, the evolution of key bibliometric indicators, and adds a validating qualitative analysis of content by an expert in the field. Moreover, the emergence of the topic is shown to overlap between seminal authors´ early research contributions to the topic and the time when they become investigators of reference in the field, with their work featured among the most highly cited documents. Last but not least, the age of the cited bibliography constitutes a prominent indicator for establishing the emerging nature of a topic as well as its stage of development.


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Cómo citar

González-Alcaide, G., Gorraiz, J., & Hervás-Oliver, J.-L. (2018). On the use of bibliometric indicators for the analysis of emerging topics and their evolution: Spin-offs as a case study. Profesional De La información, 27(3), 493–510. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2018.may.04



Artí­culos de investigación / Research articles