, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 347-362

Measuring knowledge transfer between fields of science

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In this paper we report on the results of an exploratory study of knowledge exchange between disciplines and subfields of science, based on bibliometric methods. The goal of this analysis is twofold. Firstly, we consider knowledge exchange between disciplines at a global level, by analysing cross-disciplinary citations in journal articles, based on the world publication output in 1999. Among others a central position of the Basic Life Sciences within the Life Sciences and of Physics within the Exact Sciences is shown. Limitations of analyses of interdisciplinary impact at the journal level are discussed. A second topic is a discussion of measures which may be used to quantify the rate of knowledge transfer between fields and the importance of work in a given field or for other disciplines. Two measures are applied, which appear to be proper indicators of impact of research on other fields. These indicators of interdisciplinary impact may be applied at other institutional levels as well.

This revised version was published online in August 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.