, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 425–465 | Cite as

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

  • Joachim Schummer


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”.


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© Kluwer Academic Publisher/Akadémiai Kiadó 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Schummer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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