Deterministic bibliometric disambiguation challenges in company names

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Abstract

Peer-reviewed publications and patents serve as important signatures of knowledge generation, and therefore the authors and their organizations can represent agents of intellectual transformation. Accurate tracking of these players enables scholars to follow knowledge evolution. However, while author name disambiguation has been discussed extensively, less is known about the impact of organization name on bibliometric studies. We expand here on the recently defined phenomenon of onomastic profusion, high-frequency words used in organization names for semantic reasons, and thus contributing a non-random source of error to bibliographic studies. We use the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awardees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a use case in the field of engineering innovation. We find that firms in California or Massachusetts experience a six percent decrease in the likelihood of using the word Technologies in their names. Furthermore, use of the words Research and Science is linked to doubling the number of awards. We illustrate that, in aggregate, firms executing rational strategic naming decisions can create deterministic bibliometric challenges.