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TIM Publications

Find here the latest publications that use TIM for their analysis

JRC Publications and Scientific Publications


JRC Publications


The report presents a list of 75 individual weak signals in science and technology development in 2020. In addition, 4 clusters of weak signals have also been detected and are reported. These early signs of emerging technologies or products were detected using text mining, clustering techniques and scientometrics indicators applied on a corpus of peer-reviewed scientific publications. A dashboard is at the disposal of the reader to further explore the weak signals:…


The Report ‘Cybersecurity – Our Digital Anchor’ brings together research from different disciplinary fields of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service. It provides multidimensional insights into the growth of cybersecurity over the last 40 years, identifying weaknesses in the current digital evolution and their impacts on European citizens and industry. The report also sets out the elements that potentially could be used to shape a brighter and more secure future for Europe’s digital society, taking into account the new cybersecurity challenges triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. According to some projections, cybercrime will cost the world EUR 5.5 trillion by the end of 2020, up from EUR 2.7 trillion in 2015, due in part to the exploitation of the COVID-19 pandemic by cyber criminals. This figure represents the largest transfer of economic wealth in history, more profitable than the global trade in all major illegal drugs combined, putting at risk incentives for innovation and investment. Furthermore, cyber threats have moved beyond cybercrime and have become a matter of national security. The report addresses relevant issues, including: - Critical infrastructures: today, digital technologies are at the heart of all our critical infrastructures. Hence, their cybersecurity is already – and will become increasingly – a matter of critical infrastructure protection (see the cases of Estonia and Ukraine). - Magnitude of impact: the number of citizens, organisations and businesses impacted simultaneously by a single attack can be huge. - Complexity and duration of attacks: attacks are becoming more and more complex, demonstrating attackers’ enhanced planning capabilities. Moreover, attacks are often only detected post-mortem . - Computational power: the spread of malware also able to infect mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices (as in the case of Mirai botnet), hugely increases the distributed computational power of the attacks (especially in the case of denial of services (DoS)). The same phenomenon makes the eradication of an attack much more difficult. - Societal aspects: cyber threats can have a potentially massive impact on society, up to the point of undermining the trust citizens have in digital services. As such services are intertwined with our daily life, any successful cybersecurity strategy must take into consideration the human and, more generally, societal aspects. This report shows how the evolution of cybersecurity has always been determined by a type of cause-and-effect trend: the rise in new digital technologies followed by the discovery of new vulnerabilities, for which new cybersecurity measures must be identified. However, the magnitude and impacts of today's cyber attacks are now so critical that the digital society must prepare itself before attacks happen. Cybersecurity resilience along with measures to deter attacks and new ways to avoid software vulnerabilities should be enhanced, developed and supported. The ‘leitmotiv’ of this report is the need for a paradigm shift in the way cybersecurity is designed and deployed, to make it more proactive and better linked to societal needs. Given that data flows and information are the lifeblood of today’s digital society, cybersecurity is essential for ensuring that digital services work safely and securely while simultaneously guaranteeing citizens’ privacy and data protection. Thus, cybersecurity is evolving from a technological ‘option’ to a societal must. From big data to hyperconnectivity, from edge computing to the IoT, to artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and blockchain technologies, the ‘nitty-gritty’ details of cybersecurity implementation will always remain field-specific due to specific sectoral constraints. This brings with it inherent risks of a digital society with heterogeneous and inconsistent levels of security. To counteract this, we argue for a coherent, cross-sectoral and cross-societal cybersecurity strategy which can be implemented across all layers of European society. This strategy should cover not only the technological aspects but also the societal dimensions of ‘behaving in a cyber-secure way’. Consequently, the report concludes by presenting a series of possible actions instrumental to building a European digital society secure by design.


Horizon Scanning (HS) is a systematic outlook to detect early signs of potentially important developments. JRC.I.2 unit has created and, with the help of partner JRC Knowledge Management Units, has tested a methodology for a horizon scanning process at JRC level. Benefiting from this support and following this methodology, JRC.G.10 unit has collected throughout the year 2019 a number of ideas related to nuclear technology, later on filtered and clustered in the so called 'sense-making workshops'. This report presents the outcome of this exercise.


JRC has developed a quantitative methodology to detect very early signs of emerging technologies, so called 'weak signals of technology development'. Using text mining and scientometrics indicators, 257 of these weak signals have been identified on the basis of scientific literature and are reported in the present report.


JRC has developed a quantitative methodology to detect very early signs of emerging technologies, so called 'weak signals of technology development'. Using text mining and scientometric indicators, 256 of these weak signals have been identified on the basis of scientific literature and have been reported earlier this year in a JRC technical report. The purpose of this follow-up report is to provide a European perspective and to provide recommendations for policy makers. Europe shows vulnerabilities in 179 of these weak signals, further analysed in the present report.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is currently developing a monitoring system for tracking the evolution of established and emerging technologies (Tools for Innovation Monitoring, TIM). The editor tool developed is based on semantic analysis, powerful data mining and visualization of complex data sets and holds the promise to complement expert knowledge by identifying emerging trends within a technology. Within this context, this report provides guidance and illustrates possible ways of applying bibliometric analysis to research-for-policy questions on specific energy technologies.


A common terminology is essential in any field of science and technology for a mutual understanding among different communities of experts and regulators, harmonisation of policy actions, standardisation of quality procedures and experimental testing, and the communication to the general public. It also allows effective revision of information for policy making and optimises research fund allocation. In particular, in emerging scientific fields with a high innovation potential, new terms, descriptions and definitions are quickly generated, which are then ambiguously used by stakeholders having diverse interests, coming from different scientific disciplines and/or from various regions. The application of nanotechnology in health -often called nanomedicine- is considered as such emerging and multidisciplinary field with a growing interest of various communities. In order to support a better understanding of terms used in the regulatory domain, the Nanomedicines Working Group of the International Pharmaceutical Regulators Forum (IPRF) has prioritised the need to map, compile and discuss the currently used terminology of regulatory scientists coming from different geographic areas. The JRC has taken the lead to identify and compile frequently used terms in the field by using web crawling and text mining tools as well as the manual extraction of terms. Websites of 13 regulatory authorities and clinical trial registries globally involved in regulating nanomedicines have been crawled. The compilation and analysis of extracted terms demonstrated sectorial and geographical differences in the frequency and type of nanomedicine related terms used in a regulatory context. Finally 31 relevant and most frequently used terms deriving from various agencies have been compiled, discussed and analysed for their similarities and differences. These descriptions will support the development of harmonised use of terminology in the future. The report provides necessary background information to advance the discussion among stakeholders. It will strengthen activities aiming to develop harmonised standards in the field of nanomedicine, which is an essential factor to stimulate innovation and industrial competitiveness.



Scientific publications


This paper compares the results from quantitative text mining to qualitative expert reviews to identify emerging technologies in the fields of solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, ocean and tidal energy, hydropower. The text mining analysis is based on the software “Tools for Innovation Monitoring” (TIM). The TIM software extracts a set of relevant keywords from a corpus of pertinent scientific publications. TIM outputs are compared to those extracted by the software VOSviewer, showing agreement. The top 300 ranked keywords are the optimum trade-off between retrieved technologies and analyst efforts. The emerging technologies identified by the experts can be retrieved in the top 300 keywords with a probability of 65 %, 25 %, depending on the technology sector and the algorithm adopted. The more salient keywords tend to correspond to technologies with an established and univocal jargon such as: 'dye sensitised solar cells' or 'vertical axis wind turbines'. Two methods are here used and compared: the frequency of author keywords and the term frequency-inverse document frequency (TF-IDF) algorithm. The comparison of their performances is not showing a general prevalence of one method against the other, but rather a different suitability to different technology sectors.

This paper compares the results of technology mapping from bibliometric analysis and results from expert review to identify emerging solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies. The bibliometric analysis is based on “Tools for Innovation Monitoring” (TIM), a new software code developed by the Joint Research Centre. With this text-mining software a set of relevant keywords is extracted through frequency analysis from a corpus of pertinent scientific publications. Keywords obtained by quantitative analysis by TIM are tested against results from qualitative cognitive analysis by an international panel of PV technology experts by means of a set of proposed indicators. The technologies identified by the PV experts are well represented amongst the most frequently occurring (highest ranked) keywords retrieved by TIM. The more salient keywords tend to correspond to the relatively more established technologies such as dye sensitised solar cells, organic PV and more recently-developed technologies such as perovskites. These high rated/developed keywords/technologies can be relatively straightforwardly detected through bibliometric analysis. Contrary to that, keywords designating the most emerging technologies like ferroelectric PV, hot carriers and multiple exciton generation solar cells tend to occur much less frequently and therefore provide weaker signals. These weak signals can be important in foresight.



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