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Understanding the formation of interdisciplinary research from the perspective of keyword evolution: a case study on joint attention

Jian Xu (), Yi Bu, Ying Ding, Sinan Yang, Hongli Zhang, Chen Yu and Lin Sun
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Jian Xu: Sun Yat-sen University
Yi Bu: Indiana University
Ying Ding: Indiana University
Sinan Yang: Sun Yat-sen University
Hongli Zhang: Sun Yat-sen University
Chen Yu: Indiana University
Lin Sun: Indiana University

Scientometrics, 2018, vol. 117, issue 2, 973-995

Abstract: Abstract Understanding the formation of interdisciplinary research (IDF) is critically important for the promotion of interdisciplinary development. In this paper, we adopt extracted keywords to investigate the features of interdisciplinarity development, as well as the distinct roles that different participating domains play in various periods, and detect potential barriers among domains. We take joint attention (JA) as the study domain, since it has undergone a development process from a topic of one domain to interdisciplinary research (IDR). Our empirical study has yielded interesting findings. First, we detect the phenomenon of knowledge diffusion as it evolved through three domains of JA. It enabled us to observe the shift of roles the domains played during the process of IDF, as well as the existence of potential barriers among these domains. Second, according to the diffusion and development process of JA among domains, three phases that an IDR field in general goes through were identified: a latent phase, an embryo phase, and a mature phase. Third, domains may play different roles in distinct periods, with the formation of IDR. Four roles are identified: knowledge origin, knowledge receiver, knowledge respondent, and interdisciplinary participant. This paper showcases how to detect the evolution of IDR by analyzing keyword evolution. By giving the profiles of IDR fields and descriptions of keyword evolution, it would be valuable for policy makers and regulators to promote IDR development.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary formation; Joint attention; Keyword evolution; Interdisciplinary communication; 94A05 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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