, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 595–611 | Cite as

The emergence of social science research on nanotechnology

  • Philip ShapiraEmail author
  • Jan Youtie
  • Alan L. Porter


This article examines the development of social science literature focused on the emerging area of nanotechnology. It is guided by the exploratory proposition that early social science work on emerging technologies will draw on science and engineering literature on the technology in question to frame its investigative activities, but as the technologies and societal investments in them progress, social scientists will increasingly develop and draw on their own body of literature. To address this proposition the authors create a database of nanotechnology-social science literature by merging articles from the Web of Science’s Social Science Citation Index and Arts and Humanities Citation Index with articles from Scopus. The resulting database comprises 308 records. The findings suggest that there are multiple dimensions of cited literature and that social science citations of other social scientists’ works have increased since 2005.


Nanotechnology Societal implications Scientometrics 



This research was partly supported by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (National Science Foundation Award 0531194), the National Partnership for Managing Upstream Innovation: The Case of Nanoscience and Technology (North Carolina State University, National Science Foundation Award EEC-0438684), and the Representations of Active Nanostructures project (NSF SES-0708413). The findings and observations contained in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Significant assistance in database development was provided by Ashley Rivera, Jue Wang, and Heming Zhang.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Manchester Business SchoolUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Enterprise Innovation InstituteGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Technology Policy & Assessment CenterGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Search Technology, Inc.AtlantaUSA

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