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Sectoral systems of innovation: the case of robotics research activities

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Robotics technology holds a significant promise for improving industrial automation and production lines, operating complex surgical procedures, performing space and security missions, and providing services to assist, educate and entertain humans. The emphasis of this paper is primarily on the scientific developments of robotics systems of innovation in a global perspective, identifying actors and institutions involved in developing and diffusing this innovative technology. This quantitative research is grounded on tech mining research method that is the combination of content analysis, bibliometrics and text mining. The analysis measures the scientific performance of individual countries based on robotics-related scientific publications from INSPEC database over the period 1995–2009. It discusses the role of academia, governmental institutions and firms in robotics scientific activities and further identifies the most prolific institutions involved in robotics research. The cross-country analysis sheds light on the evolution of robotics publication activities in time and reveals the relative technological specialization of individual countries in specific domains of robotics technology by the use of revealed technological advantage indices. The findings are particularly useful for science and technology policy makers and R&D strategists, presenting strengths and weaknesses of robotics innovation systems and existing and future scientific developments of robotics technology.

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The authors would like to thank Professor Krzysztof Klincewicz for his invaluable suggestions, comments and contributions to this research and to acknowledge Erasmus Mundus Fellowship Program from the European Commission which in part supported the study in this article.

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Correspondence to Gita Ghiasi.

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Ghiasi, G., Larivière, V. Sectoral systems of innovation: the case of robotics research activities. Scientometrics 104, 407–424 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-015-1611-9

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  • Robotics
  • Systems of innovation
  • Bibliometrics
  • Tech mining
  • Science and technology policy

JEL Classification

  • O32