, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 425-465

Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and patterns of research collaboration in nanoscience and nanotechnology

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Abstract

This paper first describes the recent development that scientists and engineers of many disciplines, countries, and institutions increasingly engage in nanoscale research at breathtaking speed. By co-author analysis of over 600 papers published in “nano journals” in 2002 and 2003, I investigate if this apparent concurrence is accompanied by new forms and degrees of multi- and interdisciplinarity as well as of institutional and geographic research collaboration. Based on a new visualization method, patterns of research collaboration are analyzed and compared with those of classical disciplinary research. I argue that current nanoscale research reveals no particular patterns and degrees of interdisciplinarity and that its apparent multidisciplinarity consists of different largely mono-disciplinary fields which are rather unrelated to each other and which hardly share more than the prefix “nano”.

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