Long-term trends in the multidisciplinarity of some typical natural and social sciences, and its implications on the SSH versus STM distinction
- 253 Downloads
Macro-level domains of the science system, usually referred to as STM and SSH disciplines, have often been contrasted from various perspectives, regarding the characteristic composition of their publication channels, referencing or communication practices, and the related consequences in research evaluation. It is also long been conjectured that social science fields (along with the humanities) are more multidisciplinary than natural science fields, regarding their patterns of scholarly communication (“multidisciplinarity thesis”). The main goal of the study reported in this paper is twofold: (1) to revisit the differences in multidisciplinarity between the SSH versus STM domain, via a long-term longitudinal survey including the most recent trends, and (2) to utilize, for this task, state-of-the-art metrics and models of Interdisciplinary Research, taking into account their limitations, that is, the data sources that most naturally feed these models (typically the Web of Science). Our conclusions provides further confirmation, from the perspective of multidisciplinarity, that the concepts of SSH and STM are mainly tools for communication, rather than empirically valid constructs.
KeywordsTrends SSH STM Social sciences and humanities Interdisciplinarity Multidisciplinarity IDR Science overlay maps Diversity Review papers
This work was supported by the European Commission under the FP7 Grant No. 613202 (IMPACT-EV project).
- Garner, J., Porter, A. L., Borrego, M., Tran, E., & Teutonico, R. (2013). Facilitating social and natural science cross-disciplinarity: Assessing the human and social dynamics program. Research Evaluation, 22(2), 134–144.Google Scholar
- Gingras, Y., & Larivière, V. (2010). The historical evolution of interdisciplinarity: 1900–2008. In 11th International conference on science and technology indicators (p. 100).Google Scholar
- Hicks, D. (2004). The four literatures of social science. Handbook of quantitative science and technology research (pp. 473-496).Google Scholar
- Hicks, D. (2006). The dangers of partial bibliometric evaluation in the social sciences. Economia politica, 23(2), 145–162.Google Scholar
- Huutoniemi, K., Rafols, I. (2017-03-06). Interdisciplinarity in Research Evaluation. Oxford Handbooks Online. Retrieved 14 May 2017.Google Scholar
- Larivière, V., Archambault, É., Gingras, Y., & Vignola-Gagné, É. (2006). The place of serials in referencing practices: Comparing natural sciences and engineering with social sciences and humanities. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(8), 997–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Levitt, J. M., Thelwall, M., & Oppenheim, C. (2011). Variations between subjects in the extent to which the social sciences have become more interdisciplinary. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 62(6), 1118–1129.Google Scholar
- Leydesdorff, L., Rafols, I., & Chen, C. (2013). Interactive overlays of journals and the measurement of interdisciplinarity on the basis of aggregated journal–journal citations. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 64(12), 2573–2586.Google Scholar