Synthetic biology is an emerging domain that combines biological and engineering concepts and which has seen rapid growth in research, innovation, and policy interest in recent years. This paper contributes to efforts to delineate this emerging domain by presenting a newly constructed bibliometric definition of synthetic biology. Our approach is dimensioned from a core set of papers in synthetic biology, using procedures to obtain benchmark synthetic biology publication records, extract keywords from these benchmark records, and refine the keywords, supplemented with articles published in dedicated synthetic biology journals. We compare our search strategy with other recent bibliometric approaches to define synthetic biology, using a common source of publication data for the period from 2000 to 2015. The paper details the rapid growth and international spread of research in synthetic biology in recent years, demonstrates that diverse research disciplines are contributing to the multidisciplinary development of synthetic biology research, and visualizes this by profiling synthetic biology research on the map of science. We further show the roles of a relatively concentrated set of research sponsors in funding the growth and trajectories of synthetic biology. In addition to discussing these analyses, the paper notes limitations and suggests lines for further work.
Full-text available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11192-017-2452-5
Author(s): Philip Shapira, Seokbeom Kwon, Jan Youtie
Organization(s): University of Manchester, Georgia Institute of Technology
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.
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Author(s): Philip Shapira, Jan Youtie, and Yin Li
Organization(s): University of Manchester and Georgia Institute of Technology
Source: Journal of Responsible Innovation
This article uses data from Thomson Reuters Web of Science to map and analyse the scientific landscape for synthetic biology. The article draws on recent advances in data visualisation and analytics with the aim of informing upcoming international policy debates on the governance of synthetic biology by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Continue reading Synthetic Biology: Mapping the Scientific Landscape