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From Data Mining to Trend Mining

Good news for economy and science: A new research project at FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure allows a faster and easier access to innovation trends in future technologies through trend mining in patent information.
“Science, economy and politics need reliable indicators for being informed about the current activities in research and for knowing where it goes to. This kind of information is found in patent databases.

FIZ Karlsruhe has developed efficient analysis tools for trend research with patent information which draw “landscapes” of the international research”, states Sabine Brünger-Weilandt, President and CEO of FIZ Karlsruhe.

“With our new research project ‘Trend Mining for the Sciences’ we strengthen our know-how within the area of data- and especially textual analysis on a consequential level, for supporting science and economy even better when it comes to company-critical business decisions.”

It becomes more and more important for industry and science to ascertain new trends and developments in research as early as possible in order to stay ahead in an increasingly tough international competition. The new research project Trend Mining for the Sciences is funded by the Leibniz Association on basis of the joint initiative for research and innovation in the course of the line of funding for especially innovative projects. It will be financed for three years. The methods of text mining are to be applied to the challenging text type of "patent texts" for the first time.

Patent information reflects the innovation capabilities and productive efficiency of companies, regions, industry sectors and entire national economies. The results of technical and natural scientific research are often exclusively published in the form of a patent. Experts estimate that 70 to 90% of all the technical knowledge ever published is documented exclusively in patent publications. Hence, patent publications are an extremely valuable source of information for researchers in science and business.

Within the recently started Leibniz-Project the involved researchers of FIZ Karlsruhe and the University of Hildesheim aim to develop new software tools for being able to conclude innovation trends from the enriched and edited patent documents by analyzing full texts, patent classifications, bibliographic and other information. The difficulty mainly comes from the patent terminology and the linguistic structures which differ from the everyday speech. The goal of the research project is to develop prototype software which can be used easily by researchers, information professionals and patent experts for identifying innovation trends. This software shall be able to make trends visible based on an analysis of different text features in the patent publications by combining the results with further information such as scientific publications, with the aim to show innovation trends more simply, faster and comprehensively than before. The high reliability of the search results and the information lead are crucial advantages. The use of this new software will make competition relevant and business critical decisions more certain.

While the term Data Mining has become more known in public just a short time ago the experts of FIZ Karlsruhe have worked to develop special tools to extract information from a huge amount of data already for almost 30 years. Trend analysis from patent information is already possible today. However, the method available is very time consuming and only meaningful if a trend can be numerically identified on the basis of increasing patent publications. Moreover, only by a careful processing of patent information the information contained in the data about technology and markets becomes specifically and appropriately analyzable. Content, system and tools have to be perfectly synchronized. The online service STN® International operated by FIZ Karlsruhe plays a central role in this context. The worldwide leading online service in the field of research and patent information provides a unique combination of premium databases. From this basis innovation trends can be derived. The content of STN International currently includes approximately 150 databases and 1.5 billion documents. It covers patent specifications and metadata, like abstracts of scientific publications, facts like chemical structures and reactions as well as biosequence data.

For the analysis of the retrieved patent information special visualizations like the tool STN AnaVist are needed. STN AnaVist allows a large number of hits (out of thousands) to be visually displayed as "patent landscapes". These types of landscapes are formed by merging, also known as clustering, documents with a similar content. With the help of numerous analysis features, these landscapes can then be interactively evaluated.

For more than 35 years FIZ Karlsruhe is one of the most successful players in the information sector. In addition to STN International, the Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure also provides further databases and information services for the science and economy industry. And we are engaged in the development of innovative e-science solutions and services, including systems for the confidential management of research data.

More information about trend analysis (hands on the example of energy storage technology) can be found here or on the FIZ Homepage ><. On our project pages a brief description of the project “Trend Mining” can be retrieved. Please find related images to the topic “patent landscapes” in our Press Room under the category press photos.

About FIZ Karlsruhe
FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure ( is a not-for-profit limited liability company and the largest non-academic information infrastructure institution in Germany. As such, its public mission is to develop and provide products and services for an information infrastructure to science, research, and industry. FIZ Karlsruhe strives to strengthen the transfer of knowledge in Germany and abroad and to support the promotion of innovation.
Our business areas:
- STN International – the world’s leading online service for research and patent information
in science and technology
- KnowEsis – innovative e-Science solutions to support the process of research in all its
stages (e.g., research data management), and throughout all scientific disciplines
- Databases and Information Services – Databases and science portals in mathematics,
computer science, crystallography, chemistry, and energy technology

FIZ Karlsruhe is a member of the Leibniz Association, which comprises almost 90 institutions involved in research activities and/or the development of scientific infrastructure.

For more information, please contact:
FIZ Karlsruhe
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen
Phone +49 7247-808-555

Press Contact:
Dr. Robert Hauser
Phone +49 7247-808-115

Weitere Informationen:
- Website of STN: leading online service for research and patent information in science and technology

Rüdiger Mack | idw
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