Tracking the evolution of waste recycling research using overlay maps of science

Tracking the evolution of research in waste recycling science (WRS) can be valuable for environmental agencies, as well as for recycling businesses. 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 generally built upon evidence collected from reliable sources of information, such as patent and scientific publication databases. This study uses the methodology developed by Rafols et al. (2010) to make a “double overlay map” of WRS upon a basemap reflecting the cognitive structure of all journal-published science, for the years 2005 and 2010. The analysis has taken into account the cognitive areas where WRS articles are published and the areas from where it takes its intellectual nourishing, paying special attention to the growing trends of the key areas. Interpretation of results lead to the conclusion that extraction of energy from waste will probably be an important research topic in the future, along with developments in general chemistry and chemical engineering oriented to the recovery of valuable materials from waste. Agricultural and material sciences, together with the combined economics, politics and geography field, are areas with which WRS shows a relevant and ever increasing cognitive relationship.

► We used text mining tools to extract information about waste recycling research. ► Results for years 2005 and 2010 have been analyzed using the global map of science. ► Findings point out to energy extraction from waste as a future hot research topic. ► General chemistry and chemical engineering are especially relevant fields. ► Social sciences show cognitive links with waste recycling science.

Author(s):Gaizka Garechana, Rosa Rio, Ernesto Cilleruelo, Javier Gavilanes
Organization(s): University of the Basque
Source: Waste Management, Volume 32, Issue 6
Year: 2012

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