This article puts forth a new indicator of emerging technological topics as a tool for addressing challenges inherent in the evaluation of interdisciplinary research. We present this indicator and test its relationship with interdisciplinary and atypical research combinations. We perform this test by using metadata of scientific publications in three domains with different interdisciplinarity challenges: Nano-Enabled Drug Delivery, Synthetic Biology, and Autonomous Vehicles. Our analysis supports the connection between technological emergence and interdisciplinarity and atypicality in knowledge combinations. We further find that the contributions of interdisciplinary and atypical knowledge combinations to addressing emerging technological topics increase or stay constant over time. Implications for policymakers and contributions to the literature on interdisciplinarity and evaluation are provided.
Author(s): Seokbeom Kwon, Jan Youtie, and Alan L. Porter
Organization(s): The University of Tokyo, Georgia Institute of Technology
Source: Research Evaluation