"The Interaction of 'Supply', 'Demand', and 'Technology' in Terms of Medical Subject Headings: A Triple Helix Model of Medical Innovations" -- preprint

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Wed May 13 15:15:40 EDT 2015

The Interaction of 'Supply', 'Demand', and 'Technology'
in Terms of Medical Subject Headings: A Triple Helix Model of Medical

Alexander M. Petersen,1* Daniele Rotolo,2 and Loet Leydesdorff3


The present paper explores the use of the branches of the Medical Subject
Headings (MeSH) classification of MEDLINE/PubMed for operationalizing demand
for innovation, supply, and technological contexts in terms of "Diseases"
(branch C), "Drugs and Chemicals" (branch D), "Analytic, Diagnostic, and
Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment" (branch E), respectively. Using a
triple-helix model, synergy among these three interacting knowledge spaces
can be measured as reduction of uncertainty (mutual redundancy) among the
co-evolutions. We analyze three biomedical research areas that have gone
through breakthrough discoveries and technological developments (also
honored with Nobel Prizes): (i) Human Papilloma Virus (HPV - identified as
the main cause of cervical cancer), (ii) RNA interference (RNAi - a
biological process involved with gene expression), and (iii) Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI - a diagnostic technology). Periods of (statistically
significant) synergy among demand, supply, and technological context can be
indicated in each of these research areas. We found these to be associated
with historical transitions in their respective trajectories. Among the
pairwise configurations, the demand-technology provides the strongest link,
followed by supply-demand, and with the supply-technology channel being the


Preprint version available at

** apologies for cross-postings



1 <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1558782> IMT
Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies; Boston University
2SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit), University of Sussex
3University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Communication Research


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