A Bibliometric Study of Research-Technology Management, 1998-2017: An Analysis of 20 Years of RTM Articles Offers a Perspective on Trends and Evolutions in the Journal's Content and in the Field of Innovation Management

By Shum, Vanessa; Park, Andrew et al. | Research-Technology Management, January-February 2019 | Go to article overview

A Bibliometric Study of Research-Technology Management, 1998-2017: An Analysis of 20 Years of RTM Articles Offers a Perspective on Trends and Evolutions in the Journal's Content and in the Field of Innovation Management


Shum, Vanessa, Park, Andrew, Maine, Elicia, Pitt, Leyland F., Research-Technology Management


Research-Technology Management (RTM) is a leading peer-reviewed journal in the area of innovation management. RTM is particularly focused on innovation practice; it has been described by the editor-in-chief as "a publication for practitioners and by practitioners" (Euchner 2009, p. 8). Although RTM has been recognized as a top journal in the field (Linton and Thongpapanl 2004), there have been no large-scale bibliometric studies or quantitative analyses of the content the journal publishes.

As a result, readers and authors looking for topic trends and seeking to identify the journal's evolving focus must sift through a large body of material. RTM editors do not have meaningful measures of the journal's development to help evaluate the journal's future direction and scope.

To fill these gaps, we present the results of a bibliometric study of RTM's published articles over the past two decades (1998-2017). We trace the evolution of the industries and topics featured in the journal over time to help practitioner readers track changes in the highly mutable domain of innovation, both within their organizations and across the broad range of practitioner-focused literature. Our study also serves as a good starting point for prospective RTM authors seeking information about the types of papers the journal publishes. More importantly, a systematic and concise retrospect of the field of technology and innovation that tracks trends as they emerge can reveal opportunities for meaningful research.

Background

RTM was founded in 1958 as Research Management and rebranded to Research-Technology Management in 1988. The journal publishes a wide range of content covering topics such as R&D portfolio management, new product development, management of disruptive or discontinuous innovation, information technology, and more. Its goal is to provide innovation leaders with the knowledge and skills to foster innovative activity in their organizations. In addition to blending theory with actionable insights, the journal aims to promote practitioner learning through the sharing of experiences (Euchner 2009).

RTM has long been recognized as a leading innovation management journal. Most notably, Linton & Thongpapanl's (2004) citation analysis of technology and innovation management specialty journals ranked RTM as one of the top three journals in the field. In other words, the analysis showed that articles published in RTM were among the most frequently cited sources in other top journals. The authors suggest that this influence arises from RTM's practitioner focus: academic researchers look to RTM, known for its practical approach and influence among practitioners, to "ground theory in practice" (Linton and Thongpapanl 2004, p. 132).

Undoubtedly, RTM's wide appeal to working innovation leaders amplifies its influence on the field. Consequently, a bibliometric analysis of RTM's output can support inferences about the evolution of the entire landscape of technology and innovation management. Bibliometrics add value by capturing the development of disciplines and networks of researchers and providing a measure of productivity for thought leaders (Okubo 1997). Our analysis of RTM examines four key attributes: citations of RTM articles in other publications, authors of RTM articles (including an examination of trends in collaboration), representation of industry sectors in published articles, and topics presented in published articles.

Methodology

Our methodology, which was designed to categorize and parse relevant content, followed a simple-to-complex order of operations. From the list of metrics we aimed to gather, we started with the ones that were most objective and already labeled and quantified through existing sources. We then moved to more subjective elements requiring more direct engagement with the relevant articles, such as topic categorization, which was manually coded by the authors. …

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