The cycle of research, development, and innovation (R&D&I) occupies a strategic position, as these components promote scientific knowledge and economic growth in a markedly dynamic international environment.
Given the current highly competitive state of R&D&I throughout most of the world, there is a clear need to measure, analyze, and estimate any R&D&I system in order to gauge its relative position, promote its effective functioning, detect its strengths and weaknesses, improve decision-making, implement changes of orientation in the scientific policies, etc.
Studying and assessing any research system or any scientific area is not easy due to different factors, including the ongoing transformation of the analysis object; the plurality of agents; the variety and heterogeneity of the information sources; the difficulty in accessing the data, etc.
This study adopts the following hypothesis: in addition to support directly the scientific and technological cycle, documentation specialists are able to manage and study the scientific information efficiently, rapidly, and precisely. Ultimately, the goal is to promote progress in science and technology.
The thesis focuses on Spain and more specifically on the territories of Catalan language and culture (especially Catalonia, but also the Valencian Country, Balearic Islands and Andorra), with comparisons made at international level. The thesis covers a maximum period of twelve years (1997-2008).
The core of the thesis consists of a compendium of six articles published in the 2008-2010 triennium in a web portal, and five scientific journals. This compendium of publications was designed to meet the following objectives:
1. To define the conceptual framework of R&D&I and to detect problems associated with the study of scientific and technological information.
2. To study the main sources of specialized information on R&D&I.
3. To describe the design methodology and implementation of a web portal on science and technology.
4. To apply a scientometric perspective (agents, resources and results) to the description and analysis of a scientific area (microbiology) and a document type (theses).
In Information Science, however, analyses are commonly limited to bibliometric data arising from scientific output in terms of articles, while other key elements of the R&D&I global cycle tend to be neglected.
A research system is made up of: agents; human and economic resources; and the resulting scientific and technological documentation, often in the form of scientific journals and articles, doctoral theses and other documents. Equipped with this information, scientific experts and policy-makers will be able to carry out significant analyses and, thereby, make the most appropriate decisions. [