Mieke van Hemert

Studying cross-disciplinary dynamics and cognitive integration. Complementarity of scientometric and interpretive analyses.

Mieke van Hemert (STePS)


I will discuss two approaches to analyse cross-disciplinary dynamics and cognitive integration that I used in my PhD study. The first approach is a scientometric one. It conceptualises scientific fields as sets of journals, which can be mapped by factor analysing journal-to-journal citations. The journal River Research & Applications serves as an entrance point for analysing cross-disciplinarity and cognitive integration in river science over the last decades.

The second approach involves interpretion of journal articles and other publications. The journal RRA is again the starting point of the analysis. Interpretive analysis yields an historical account of how integration between ecological and earth scientific specialties evolved. The scientometric analysis indicates that the journal oscillates between a freshwater ecology and a fisheries research journal set, and that ecological and earth scientific journals continue to form distinct sets. Interpretive analysis of publications, on the other hand, indicates that in river science integration of ecological and earth scientific specialties evolves and has come to be connected to the dominant conception of the river as a spatially nested hierarchy. The divergent results of the two methods raises questions about their complementarity.