Detecting emerging research topics is essential, not only for research agencies but also for individual researchers. Previous studies have created various bibliographic indicators for the identification of emerging research topics. However, as indicated by Rotolo et al. (2015), the most serious problems are the lack of an acknowledged definition of emergence and incomplete elaboration of the linkages between the definitions that are used and the indicators that are created.
With these issues in mind, this study first adjusts the definition of an emerging technology that Rotolo et al. (2015) have proposed in order to accommodate the analysis. Next, a set of criteria for the identification of emerging topics is proposed according to the adjusted definition and attributes of emergence. By the use of two sets of parameter values, several emerging research topics are identified.
Finally, evaluation tests are conducted by demonstration of the proposed approach and comparison with previous studies. The strength of the present methodology lies in the fact that it is fully transparent, straightforward, and flexible.