Where Is Science Going?

Science, Technology and Human Values 21 (4):379-406 (1996)
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Do researchers produce scientific and technical knowledge differently than they did ten years ago? What will scientific research look like ten years from now? Addressing such questions means looking at science from a dynamic systems perspective. Two recent books about the social system of science, by Ziman and by Gibbons, Limoges, Nowotny, Schwartzman, Scott, and Trow, accept this challenge and argue that the research enterprise is changing. This article uses bibliometric data to examine the extent and nature of changes identified by these authors, taking as an example British research. We use their theoretical frameworks to investigate five characteristics of research said to be increasingly pervasive—namely, application, interdisciplinarity, networking, internationalization, and concentration of resources. Results indicate that research may be becoming more interdisciplinary and that research is increasingly conducted more in networks, both domestic and international; but the data are more ambiguous regarding application and concentration.



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