Science and Technology Studies: Exploring the Knowledge Base

Ben R. Martin, Paul Nightingale and Alfredo Yegros-Yegros
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 using the references that are most cited by the authors of chapters in a number of authoritative ‘handbooks’. The study then analyses the impact of these contributions by exploring the research fields, journals, and geographical location of the researchers that have cited these core contributions in their own work. Together, these two analyses reveal the various phases in the development of STS and the various aspects of convergence and divergence of the field as the quantitative studies of science and technology gradually separated 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.