PUS in turbulent times II – A shifting vocabulary that brokers inter-disciplinary knowledge
To reflect further on 20 years of the journal, we present a lexicographic and bibliometric study of all papers published in Public Understanding of Science (PUS). Lexicographical analysis of the vocabulary of 465 abstracts shows five classes of associated concepts in two periods, 1992–2001 and 2002–2010. The concern for public attitudes and mass media coverage remains on the card; while language has shifted from ‘public understanding’ to ‘public engagement’ and environmental concerns have waned then waxed. The bibliometric analysis traces the position of PUS in the inter-citation network of 165 related journals (ISI Web of Science citation database), grouped into 10 disciplines for the purpose of this analysis. Indicators derived from network logic show that the established position of PUS has been stable since 1997. PUS serves a varied brokerage role as gatekeeper into and liaison maker between disciplines. Its inter-citation network position allows PUS to perform inter-disciplinary boundary spanning work that offers a safe space for experimentation with ideas.