Measuring the development of a common scientific lexicon in nanotechnology

Title: Measuring the development of a common scientific lexicon in nanotechnology
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2014
Published In: Journal of Nanoparticle Research
Description: Over the last two decades, nanotechnology has not only grown considerably but also evolved in its use of scientific terminology. This paper examines the growth in nano-prefixed terms in a corpus of nanotechnology scholarly publications over a 21-year time period. The percentage of publications using a nano-prefixed term has increased from <10 % in the early 1990s to nearly 80 % by 2010. A co-word analysis of nano-prefixed terms indicates that the network of these terms has moved from being densely organized around a few common nano-prefixed terms such as "nanostructure" in 2000 to becoming less dense and more differentiated in using additional nano-prefixed terms while continuing to coalesce around the common nano-prefixed terms by 2010. We further observe that the share of nanotechnology papers oriented toward biomedical and clinical medicine applications has risen from just over 5 % to more than 11 %. While these results cannot fully distinguish between the use of nano-prefixed terms in response to broader policy or societal influences, they do suggest that there are intellectual and scientific underpinnings to the growth of a collectively shared vocabulary. We consider whether our findings signify the maturation of a scientific field and the extent to which this denotes the emergence of a shared scientific understanding regarding nanotechnology. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Journal of Nanoparticle Research. 16. Issue 1. ISSN 1388-0764. DOI 10.1007/s11051-013-2194-0.
Related Departments:
  • School of Public Policy