Volume 30, Issue 4 p. 193-201
Article

An information approach to examining developments in an energy technology: Coal gasification

J. Davidson Frame

J. Davidson Frame

Computer Horizons, Inc., 7101 Wisconsin Ave., Washington, DC 20014

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John J. Baum

John J. Baum

Computer Horizons, Inc., 7101 Wisconsin Ave., Washington, DC 20014

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Michael Card

Michael Card

Office of Policy and Evaluation, Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20545

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First published: July 1979
Citations: 8

Abstract

Developments in coal gasification research are investigated by examining the coal gasification literature, which is broadly defined to include journal articles, research reports, engineering proceedings, and patents. A substantial number of items were found for 1974, 1975, and the early part of 1976 (N = 1461). The coal gasification literature has experienced explosive growth in recent years, trebling in size between 1972 and 1974. While some of this growth may be associated with the recent “energy crisis,” in large measure it appears to be associated with the establishment of bench-scale and pilot plant coal gasification operations in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most published coal gasification research is produced by the U.S. private sector (38.7%), followed by the U.S. government (24.0%), foreign researchers (20.5%), universities (8.5%), and “unknown” (8.5%). This study suggests that technologies which are government supported and reported in the public domain are—like most scientific areas—good candidates for bibliometric inquiries. These inquiries allow for relatively economic, efficient, and reliable examinations of national research activity in given scientific and technological areas.