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Global competition and technological transition in electrical, electronic, information and communication engineering: quantitative analysis of periodicals and conference proceedings of the IEEE


This study analysed the technical and publication activities of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), the most influential academic publisher in engineering. We first constructed an original comprehensive database of periodicals (journal and magazine) and conference proceedings published by the IEEE between 1980 and 2008, which comprised approximately 0.36 million periodical articles and 1.14 million conference articles. We analysed the transitions in technical innovations from two perspectives: trends within (1) individual countries and (2) specialized fields represented in IEEE societies. The number of published periodical articles increased fourfold between 1980 and 2008, while that of published conference articles increased nearly 20-fold in the same period. In particular, the number of conference articles published by China increased dramatically from 2002, exceeding even the number published by the US in 2008. The IEEE has increasingly shifted away from its US-centred origins to literally becoming the ‘electrical and electronics association of the world’. The proportion of articles published by authors in North America, Europe and East Asia has increasingly balanced, thus leading to the formation of a tri-polar structure of IEEE technological activities. This comprehensive analysis of IEEE publications over a period of almost 30 years revealed that with the emergence of more active international competition, ‘glocalisation’ is occurring among publications and research activities of the IEEE. Consequently, quantitative analysis revealed structural changes in global competition and technological transition characterized by five phases.

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This study was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) No. 22500875 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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Correspondence to Nobuyuki Shirakawa.

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Shirakawa, N., Furukawa, T., Nomura, M. et al. Global competition and technological transition in electrical, electronic, information and communication engineering: quantitative analysis of periodicals and conference proceedings of the IEEE. Scientometrics 91, 895–910 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-011-0566-8

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  • Globalisation
  • Conference proceedings
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Tri-polar structure
  • Technological transition