Nano Social Science: An Emerging Specialization

author: Alan L. Porter, Industrial and Systems Engineering and Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
.administrator: Michelle Sagan Gonçalves, University of Massachusetts Amherst
published: Feb. 25, 2009,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 3549

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Our group at Georgia Tech (Alan L. Porter, Philip Shapiro and Jan Youtie) continues to analyze an expanding compilation of nanoscience and nanoengineering (“nano”) research literature from three databases, as well as nanopatents. We have recently updated our Science Citation Index nano search through mid-year 2008; it contains 508,000 article abstracts dating from 1991. We have now compiled counterpart nano searches in the Social Science Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, and Scopus – totaling 307 articles. We profile this small, but rapidly growing, literature to explore the development of social sciences addressing nanotechnology. We find evidence that social scientists are increasingly drawing on their own body of literature, whereas in earlier years they drew relatively more heavily upon the nano science and engineering literatures. Bibliometric analyses identify a contingent of some 60 authors whose work is heavily cited by the nano social science literature. We parse them into eight dimensions and explore the literature’s changing emphases. Our results support the hypothesis that social studies of nano are coalescing into a research network in their own right.

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