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Bibliometric Perspectives on Medical Innovation using the Medical Subject
Headings (MeSH) of PubMed

Multiple perspectives on the nonlinear processes of medical innovations can
be distinguished and combined using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) of
the Medline database. Focusing on three main branches--"diseases," "drugs
and chemicals," and "techniques and equipment"--we use base maps and overlay
techniques to investigate the translations and interactions and thus to gain
a bibliometric perspective on the dynamics of medical innovations. To this
end, we first analyze the Medline database, the MeSH index tree, and the
various options for a static mapping from different perspectives and at
different levels of aggregation. Following a specific innovation (RNA
interference) over time, the notion of a trajectory which leaves a signature
in the database is elaborated. Can the detailed index terms describing the
dynamics of research be used to predict the diffusion dynamics of research
results? Possibilities are specified for further integration between the
Medline database, on the one hand, and the Science Citation Index and Scopus
(containing citation information), on the other. 

Available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1203.1006  ; apologies for cross-postings.

Loet Leydesdorff,* Daniele Rotolo,** and Ismael Rafols**

* University of Amsterdam; Amsterdam School of Communication Research
(ASCoR)
** University of Sussex; SPRU (Science & Technology Policy Research).

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