Abstract. Mapping and depicting the structure, dynamics, and national specialisation profiles of scientific fields at the country level affords a better understanding of national developments and changes in a given field, particularly when these changes may serve as an aid in decision-making with regard to research management. This article looks at the cognitive structure of a field over time to characterise its development across countries and to appraise the competitiveness of countries in terms of research specialisation. Based on a dataset extracted from the Scopus database, we conducted a co-word analysis and studied the degree of specialisation based on publications and on keywords, in the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology field (NST). The results reveal that NST research tends to focus on nano applications and devices. According to the keyword activity index, the countries studied centre their specialisation on electronic, biotechnology, and biomedical research, certain countries showing a more competitive edge in the global realm of output. Accordingly, implications that could contribute to decision-making regarding the economy and research policies are described.

Keywords: Co-word analysis, informetrics, keyword activity index, nanoscience and nanotechnology, science mapping