A comparison of methods for detecting hot topics

  • Tseng Y
  • Lin Y
  • Lee Y
 et al. 
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Abstract

In scientometrics for trend analysis, parameter choices for observing trends are often made ad hoc in past studies. For examples, different year spans might be used to create the time sequence and different indices were chosen for trend observation. However, the effectiveness of these choices was hardly known, quantitatively and comparatively. This work provides clues to better interpret the results when a certain choice was made. Specifically, by sorting research topics in decreasing order of interest predicted by a trend index and then by evaluating this ordering based on information retrieval measures, we compare a number of trend indices (percentage of increase vs. regression slope), trend formulations (simple trend vs. eigen-trend), and options (various year spans and durations for prediction) in different domains (safety agriculture and information retrieval) with different collection scales (72500 papers vs. 853 papers) to know which one leads to better trend observation. Our results show that the slope of linear regression on the time series performs constantly better than the others. More interestingly, this index is robust under different conditions and is hardly affected even when the collection was split into arbitrary (e.g., only two) periods. Implications of these results are discussed. Our work does not only provide a method to evaluate trend prediction performance for scientometrics, but also provides insights and reflections for past and future trend observation studies.

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  • SCIENTOMETRICS

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Authors

  • Y H Tseng

  • Y I Lin

  • Y Y Lee

  • W C Hung

  • C H Lee

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