Assessing the maturity of a research area: bibliometric review and proposed framework

Heather Keathley-Herring, Eileen Van Aken, Fernando Gonzalez-Aleu, Fernando Deschamps, Geert Letens, Pablo Cardenas Orlandini

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, many disciplines have begun to adopt more systematic and standardized approaches to evaluate the impact and development of a research area with a stronger emphasis on quantitative techniques. In particular, identifying and analyzing the published literature have become important exercises for many disciplines and methods such as systematic literature review and bibliometric analysis have become more regularly used to obtain a deeper understanding of a research area. One concept that is of particular interest is the maturity, or level of development, of a research area. While this concept has been mentioned in many works, it has not yet been formalized, resulting in a lack of consensus concerning the definition of research area maturity and analysis techniques to assess maturity. Therefore, most assessments of research area maturity consider only a subset of the possible criteria with significant differences in the metrics and analyses used among different disciplines. Due to the inconsistencies in the definition and assessment of this concept, a comprehensive synthesis of this literature area is needed. This paper presents the results of a study to identify and analyze the literature, define the maturity of a research area, and synthesize the criteria for assessing maturity. The results are used to develop a generalized maturity assessment framework that establishes a comprehensive set of criteria, which can be adapted for use across a variety of research areas.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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