To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Astrobiology's goal of promoting interdisciplinary research is an attempt to reverse a trend that began two centuries ago with the formation of the first specialized scientific disciplines. We have examined this era of discipline formation in order to make a comparison with the situation today in astrobiology. Will astrobiology remain interdisciplinary or is it becoming yet another specialty?
As a case study, we have investigated effects on the scientific literature when a specialized community is formed by analyzing the citations within papers published during 1802–1856 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Phil. Trans.), the most important ‘generalist’ journal of its day, and Transactions of the Geological Society of London (Trans. Geol. Soc.), the first important disciplinary journal in the sciences. We find that these two journals rarely cited each other, and papers published in Trans. Geol. Soc. cited fewer interdisciplinary sources than did geology papers in Phil. Trans. After geology had become established as a successful specialized discipline, geologists returned to publishing papers in Phil. Trans., but they wrote in the new, highly specialized style developed in Trans. Geol. Soc. They had succeeded in not only creating a new scientific discipline, but also a new way of doing science with its own modes of research and communication.
A similar citation analysis was applied to papers published over the period 2001–2008 in the contemporary journals Astrobiology and the International Journal of Astrobiology to test the hypothesis that astrobiologists are in the early stages of creating their own specialized community. Although still too early to reliably detect any but the largest trends, there is no evidence yet that astrobiologists are drifting into their own isolated discipline. Instead, to date they appear to remain interdisciplinary.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.