Nanotechnology Publications and Patents: A Review of Social Science Studies and Search Strategies

Can Huang, Ad Notten & Nico Rasters


This paper provides a comprehensive review of more than 120 social science studies in nanoscience and technology, all of which analyze publication and patent data. We conduct a comparative analysis of bibliometric search strategies that these studies use to harvest publication and patent data related to nanoscience and technology. We implement these strategies on the 2006 publication data and find that Mogoutov and Kahane (2007) [Mogoutov, A. and B. Kahane, 2007. Data search strategy for science and technology emergence: A scalable and evolutionary query for nanotechnology tracking. Research Policy, 36: 893–903.], with their evolutionary lexical query search strategy, extract the highest number of records from the Web of Science. The strategies of Glanzel et al. (2003) [Glanzel, W., et al., 2003. Nanotechnology: Analysis of an Emerging Domain of Scientific and Technological Endeavour. Steunpunt O&O Statistieken, Report. Leuven: K.U. Leuven.], Noyons et al. (2003) [Noyons, E.C.M., et al., 2003. Mapping excellence in science and technology across Europe Nanoscience and nanotechnology. Draft report of project EC-PPN CT-2002-2001 to the European Commission.], Porter et al. (2008) [Porter, A.L. et al., 2008. Refining search terms for nanotechnology. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 10(5):715-728.] and Mogoutov and Kahane (2007) produce very similar ranking tables of the top ten nanotechnology subject areas and the top ten most prolific countries and institutions.

Key words : Nanotechnology; research and development; productivity; publications; patents; bibliometric analysis; searching strategy

JEL Classification : O14; O31

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872