A hybrid method to trace technology evolution pathways: a case study of 3D printing
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Scientometrics, 2017, 111 (1), pp. 185 - 204
- Issue Date:
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© 2017, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary. Whether it be for countries to improve the ability to undertake independent innovation or for enterprises to enhance their international competitiveness, tracing historical progression and forecasting future trends of technology evolution is essential for formulating technology strategies and policies. In this paper, we apply co-classification analysis to reveal the technical evolution process of a certain technical field, use co-word analysis to extract implicit or unknown patterns and topics, and employ main path analysis to discover significant clues about technology hotspots and development prospects. We illustrate this hybrid approach with 3D printing, referring to various technologies and processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object. Results show how our method offers technical insights and traces technology evolution pathways, and then helps decision-makers guide technology development.
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