VI.8 The Emergence of Nanoscience & Technology

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Loet Leydesdorff

Sociologist and cyberneticist Loet Leydesdorff’s map shows the relatively rare event that multiple scientific specialties merge to form a new area of science, here Nanoscience and Technology. Using aggregated citations among journals obtained from Journal Citation Reports (JCR) of the Science Citation Index Expanded, the evolution of nanoscience and nanotechnology is animated for 1998-2003. During the late 1990s, journals in the field of applied physics increasingly cite Nanotechology. Thereafter, chemistry journals begin to publish relevant works. In 2000, Science plays a crucial role in the reorganization of (inter)disciplinary relations among relevant journals. Shortly thereafter, Nanotechnology, as a specialist journal, takes over the lead from Science. New journals emerge in the subsequent years, among them Nano Letters, published by the influential American Chemical Society since 2001. As could be expected, this latter journal takes the lead in terms of the number of citations it attracts and its impact factor. While the multidisciplinary journal Science continues to impact the fine-grained citation environment of the new scientific area, the journal Nanotechnology loses its catalyzing function at the interface of applied physics and physical chemistry.


Leydesdorff, Loet, and Thomas Schank. 2008. “Dynamic Animations of Journal Maps: Indicators of Structural Change and Interdisciplinary Developments.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59 (11): 1810-1818.

Leydesdorff, Loet. 2010. The Emergence of Nanoscience & Technology. Courtesy of Loet Leydesdorff, Thomas Schank and the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. In “6th Iteration (2009): Science Maps for Scholars,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Elisha F. Hardy.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.