Science and technology studies: Exploring the knowledge base

Martin, B.R.; Nightingale, P.; Yegros-Yegros, A.
Research Policy

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is one of a number of new research fields to emerge over the last four or five decades. This paper attempts to identify its core academic contributions from the perspective of the authors of chapters in authoritative ‘handbooks’ and the references they cite. Besides identifying the most prominent publications, institutions and authors, we examine whether the core contributions can be broken down into identifiable clusters. The study also analyses the impact of these contributions by exploring the research fields, journals, and geographical location of the researchers that have cited the STS core contributions in their own work. Together, these analyses reveal a number of phases in the development of STS with periods of convergence and divergence of the field, including the gradual separation of quantitative studies of science and technology from the main body of STS. The paper ends with some conclusions about the evolution of STS, such as the role of ‘institution builders’ in developing new research fields and the structures required to hold them together.