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Yesterday’s giants and invisible colleges of today. A study on the ‘knowledge transfer’ scientific domain

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  • Alberto Gherardini

    () (Università degli Studi di Firenze)

  • Alberto Nucciotti

    (Università degli Studi di Firenze)

Abstract

Despite ‘knowledge transfer’ emerged as a separate field of study at least three decades ago, its academic literature remains rather fragmented. To reduce complexity, several journals’ special issues have attempted to frame up the literature both in a qualitative way and in a quantitative manner. Although these reviews help to bring some order to a flourishing literature, the theoretical background of knowledge transfer field of study still needs clarification. Who are their foremost scholars? How do they gather in visible or invisible colleges? How far the scientific communities of such domain have evolved over time? Has the knowledge transfer topic gained the status of an independent scientific domain? This article aims at shedding light on the knowledge transfer domain by mapping the invisible colleges on which the discipline is based. Drawing evidence from a network analysis of the backwards citations of the second generation of knowledge transfer studies, the authors point out that although the entire scientific domain has reached a strongly connected international dimension, it still manifests a persistent fragmentation. The paradoxical presence of a popular scientific domain without a proper independent theoretical body is consequently underlined.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Gherardini & Alberto Nucciotti, 2017. "Yesterday’s giants and invisible colleges of today. A study on the ‘knowledge transfer’ scientific domain," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(1), pages 255-271, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:112:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2394-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2394-y
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