As part of a larger project to investigate knowledge flows between fields of science, westudied the differences in speed of knowledge transfer within and across disciplines. The agedistribution of references in three selections of articles was analysed, including almost 800.000references in journal publications of the United Kingdom in 1992, 700.000 references inpublications of Germany in 1992, and more than 11 million references in the world total ofpublications in 1998.
The rate of citing documented knowledge from other disciplines appears to differ sharplyamong disciplines. For most of the disciplines the same ratio's are found in the three data sets.Exceptions show interesting differences in the interdisciplinary nature of a field in a country. Wefind a general tendency of a citation delay in case of knowledge transfer between different fieldsof science: citations to work of the own discipline show less of a time lag than citations to work ina foreign discipline. Between disciplines typical differences in the speed of incorporatingknowledge from other disciplines are observed, which appear to be relatively independent of timeand place: for each discipline the same pattern is found in the three data sets. The disciplinespecific characteristics found in the speed of interdisciplinary knowledge transfer may be point ofdeparture for further investigations. Results may contribute to explanations of differences incitation rates of interdisciplinary research.
KeywordsKnowledge Transfer General Tendency Interdisciplinary Research Large Project Knowledge Exchange
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