With growing attention to societal issues and implications of synthetic biology, we investigate sources of social science publication knowledge in synthetic biology and probe what might be learned by comparison with earlier rounds of social science research in nanotechnology. “Social science” research is broadly defined to include publications in conventional social science as well as humanities, law, ethics, business, and policy fields. We examine the knowledge clusters underpinning social science publications in nanotechnology and synthetic biology using a methodology based on the analysis of cited references. Our analysis finds that social science research in synthetic biology already has traction and direction, rooted in an ethical, legal, and social implications framework. However, compared with nanotechnology, social science research in synthetic biology could further explore opportunities and openings for engagement, anticipatory, and downstream application perspectives that will help to build a wider platform for insights into current and future societal impacts.
Author(s): Philip Shapira, Jan Youtie, and Yin Li
Organization(s): University of Manchester and Georgia Institute of Technology
Source: Journal of Responsible Innovation