Updating a Search Strategy to Track Emerging Nanotechnologies

Zhinan Wang, Alan Porter, Seokbeom Kwon, Jan Youtie, Philip Shapira, Stephen Carley, Xiaoyu Liu

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Identifying nanoscience and nanotechnology (nano) publications in global databases is essential to profile and track research in this ever-changing field. Crafting an effective search query to retrieve as many nano-related publications as feasible, while moderating irrelevant publications, is challenging. This paper reports on a major update to a well-established nano search routine. We offer a nine-module search that significantly augments retrieval from the Web of Science (WoS) compared to use of the WoS Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Category (Nano-WC). We compare search results, showing modular overlaps with a “Nano*” search, and among the modules. Analyzing the resulting set of 2.2 million nano publication abstract records affirms the tremendous multidisciplinary reach of nano-related research and the continued strong growth of the field. By country, China has enhanced its role as the world’s leading producer of nano publications, with slower growth for the US. Relatively high nano publication growth is also evident for India, Iran and several other emerging economies. Analyses of nano publications for 2013-2017 identify more than 20 emerging topics, primarily in the energy and two-dimensional materials domains that are apt to be actively researched in the coming few years.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Early online date4 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Nanoinformatics
  • Nanoscience
  • Nanotechnology
  • Bibliometric
  • Technological emergence
  • Emergent nano topics
  • Research trends
  • Scientometrics
  • Search strategy


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