New patterns of scientific growth : How research expanded after the invention of scanning tunneling microscopy and the discovery of buckminsterfullerenes

Faculty/Professorship: Sociological Theory  
Author(s): Riebling, Jan Rasmus; Heiberger, Raphael H.; Heidler, Richard; Heinze, Thomas
Title of the Journal: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
ISSN: 2330-1643
Corporate Body: Association for Information Science and Technology
Publisher Information: Hoboken, NJ : Wiley
Year of publication: 2013
Volume: 64
Issue: 4
Pages: 829-843
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1002/asi.22760
This article describes patterns of scientific growth that emerge in response to major research accomplishments in instrumentation and the discovery of new matter. Using two Nobel Prize-winning contributions, the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the discovery of Buckminsterfullerenes (BUF), we examine the growth of follow-up research via citation networks at the author and subdiscipline level. A longitudinal network analysis suggests that structure, cohesiveness, and interdisciplinarity vary considerably with the type of breakthrough and over time. Scientific progress appears to be multifaceted, including not only theoretical advances but also the discovery of new instrumentation and new matter. In addition, we argue that scientific growth does not necessarily lead to the formation of new specialties or new subdisciplines. Rather, we observe the emergence of a research community formed at the intersection of subdisciplinary boundaries.
Keywords: sociology; bibliometrics
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 7. January 2015