Exploring the forward citation patterns of patents based on the evolution of technology fields

Su Jung Jee, Minji Kwon, Jung Moon Ha, So Young Sohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Forward citations of patents have been used extensively to capture the impact of technological knowledge. However, our understanding of the factors shaping patent citation patterns remains limited. One of the main limitations is the lack of scholarly attention paid to the dynamic influences arising from the evolution of technology fields. From an evolutionary perspective, technological impact is not simply determined by the static attributes of a technology itself; it is also dynamically affected by changes in the external conditions. Drawing on this viewpoint, this study suggests a model for understanding patent citation patterns by reflecting the evolution of the technology fields to which each patent belongs. Four such factors are explored: technology cycle time, potential of technological convergence, popularity of the technology field, and technological novelty. Based on the proposed model, we show how expected citation patterns can change as a result of different scenarios for technology field evolution. We conduct a case study of patents in the information technology and healthcare industries to show citation patterns of patents across heterogeneous industries as well as those within an industry. Contributions to the innovation literature and research investment decisions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100985
JournalJournal of Informetrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) ( 2016R1A2A1A05005270 ). Appendix A

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 BioMed Central Ltd.. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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