Long-term trends in the multidisciplinarity of some typical natural and social sciences, and its implications on the SSH versus STM distinction

Sándor Soós, Zsófia Vida, A. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Macro-level domains of the science system, usually referred to as STM and SSH disciplines, have often been contrasted from various perspectives, regarding the characteristic composition of their publication channels, referencing or communication practices, and the related consequences in research evaluation. It is also long been conjectured that social science fields (along with the humanities) are more multidisciplinary than natural science fields, regarding their patterns of scholarly communication (“multidisciplinarity thesis”). The main goal of the study reported in this paper is twofold: (1) to revisit the differences in multidisciplinarity between the SSH versus STM domain, via a long-term longitudinal survey including the most recent trends, and (2) to utilize, for this task, state-of-the-art metrics and models of Interdisciplinary Research, taking into account their limitations, that is, the data sources that most naturally feed these models (typically the Web of Science). Our conclusions provides further confirmation, from the perspective of multidisciplinarity, that the concepts of SSH and STM are mainly tools for communication, rather than empirically valid constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-822
Number of pages28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018



  • Diversity
  • IDR
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Review papers
  • Science overlay maps
  • Social sciences and humanities
  • SSH
  • STM
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this