Boundary Objects: Measuring Gaps and Overlap Between Research Areas

Ridenour, Laura
January 2016
Knowledge Organization;2016, Vol. 43 Issue 1, p44
Academic Journal
The aim of this paper is to develop methodology to determine conceptual overlap between research areas. It investigates patterns of terminology usage in scientific abstracts as boundary objects between research specialties. Research specialties were determined by high-level classifications assigned by Thomson Reuters in their Essential Science Indicators file, which provided a strictly hierarchical classification of journals into 22 categories. Results from the query "network theory" were downloaded from the Web of Science. From this file, two top-level groups, economics and social sciences, were selected and topically analyzed to provide a baseline of similarity on which to run an informetric analysis. The Places & Spaces Map of Science (Klavans and Boyack 2007) was used to determine the proximity of disciplines to one another in order to select the two disciplines use in the analysis. Groups analyzed share common theories and goals; however, groups used different language to describe their research. It was found that 61% of term words were shared between the two groups.


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