Mapping the Science of Waste Recycling

Extended Abstract – Science Mapping session at “1st Global TechMining Conference” 2011

Authors: Gaizka Garechana; Rosa Rio; Ernesto Cilleruelo; Javier Gavilanes

This abstract describes the method being followed by the authors to build a map of science on the field of waste recycling. Maps of science are visual, easily readable representations of the cognitive structure of a branch of science, a particular area of research or the global spectrum of scientific production. They are usually built upon reliable, well structured information sources like patent and scientific publication databases, and their usefulness lies in the simplicity and accuracy with which they provide an ”helicopter view” of the scientific field object of study, acting as a useful planning tool for policy and researching strategies. (Boyack et al. 2005) (Noyons 2005),

a) Accomplished steps.
First of all, a bibliometric study was conducted to determine the “who, where, when and what” of waste recycling field (Rio, Cilleruelo 2010) and the leading publications of this field were revealed. A selection was made from this set, taking into account a double criteria: Their relevance in number of publications and their inclusion in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). The next step consisted on determining the main cognitive subareas behind these publications in the form of the ISI’s Subject Categories (SC’s). The SC’s “Environmental Sciences” and “Environmental Engineering” turned to be the leading cognitive areas.

The whole of publications pertaining to these subject categories was downloaded from the ISI’s WOS database, and their citation patterns analyzed, looking for citations to and from other subject categories. This operation has been repeated for every annual interval from 2005 to 2010, looking forward to the possibility of analyzing the dynamics taking place in waste recycling research during this period of time. This is the stage where the work lies in the very moment these lines are written.

b) Foregoing steps
Pajek visualization tool will be used to reflect in a bidimensional space the existing cognitive relationship between SC’s, basing on the times they cite each other. Two SC’s that frequently cite each other will be nearby pictured, while the SC’s that show a weaker relationship (less citations) will be distant from each other in the map. This process will be separately made for each annual interval, obtaining an overview of the evolution dynamics in waste recycling research.

The final product obtained would be a set of maps where various factors concerning to the scientific evolution can be detected and/or anticipated, such as convergence or divergence between scientific fields, appearance or disappearance of them and so on.

This method tries to reproduce the method of Leydesdorff and Rafols (Leydesdorff, Rafols 2009) applying the same principles they employed to map the whole scientific landscape, to the building of a science map focused in waste recycling. Any opinion, suggestion or question would be gratefully appreciated by the authors.

Boyack, K.W., Klavans, R., Börner, K., 2005. Mapping the backbone of science. Scientometrics. 64(3), 351-374.
Leydesdorff, L., Rafols, I., 2009. A global map of science based on the ISI subject categories. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 60(2), 348-362.
Noyons, C., 2005. Science maps within a science policy context. In: H.F. Moed, W. Glänzel and U.(.). Schmoch, eds, Handbook of Quantitative Science and Technology Research. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 237-255.
Rio, R. and Cilleruelo, E., 2010. Discovering the technologies using techmining: The case of waste recycling. 6th International Scientific Conference “Business and Management–2010”, ed. In: , May 13 14, 2010, 2010.
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