Agents for sludge dewatering in fundamental research and applied research: a bibliometric analysis


  • A bibliometric analysis on agents for sludge dewatering was conducted.
  • Highly cited papers support applied research.
  • Japan is application-oriented and USA performed well in both fundamental research and applied research.
  • Developing countries still need to optimize their pattern or promote technology innovation.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration covering the lifecycle of industrial chain is needed.

In recent years, agents for sludge dewatering have received extensive attention both from fundamental and applied research. Papers in the field of sludge dewatering agents are mainly concerned with the synthesis and characterization of agents as well as their interaction mechanisms with sludge. On the other hand, patents, which are characteristically different than papers, involve the invention and application of sludge dewatering agents. However, these researches rarely use bibliometric technology and social network analysis to provide a better understanding of the fundamental and applied researches in this specific field. This paper presents a quantitative analysis based on a total of 338 (out of 1126) core papers from Web of Science Expanded and 961 (out of 4678) core patents from Derwent Innovation to provide valuable suggestions that may promote further development in the field of sludge dewatering agents. The core point of this paper is to explore the relationship between fundamental research and applied research in the field of sludge dewatering agents through citation, characteristics of different countries/regions, collaborations of research area and organizations. Our results underline that highly cited papers support applied research by citating information among them. With respect to countries, Japan paid more attention to applied research, whereas the USA performed well both in fundamental research and applied research. China has high quantity in both papers and patents in agents for sludge dewatering. However, the papers per capita of population of China is low and the pattern still needs to optimized to improve the quality in this field. The unique development path revealed that developing countries still have a long way to go in terms of technology innovation. In addition, collaboration network of research areas has shown strong cooperation among applied researches, however they lack connection with fundamental sciences, such as physics or chemistry. Furthermore, collaboration network of organizations disclosed the necessity for upstream enterprises (agent producers) to work closely with downstream enterprises (agent users) in the sludge dewatering.

Author(s): Gengping Zhang, Qi Shi, Qiannan Li, Hongtao Wang, Heyang Yuan, Wenjing Guo, Yufei Lu
Organization(s): Tongji University
Source: Journal of Cleaner Production
Year: 2020

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