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Evidence of a New and Evolving Discipline: Neuroethics Literature, 2002-2007

Kevin Comerford, Edie Rasmussen and Judy Illes

(Submission #113)


Bibliometrics offers a means to understand how new fields of knowledge arise, evolve, and interact with their established parent disciplines. The emerging field of Neuroethics, which was first recognized as a field of study in 2002, has as its object an understanding of the impact that neuroscience and neurotechnology have on both the medical professions and society in general. The current study applies bibliometric techniques for two purposes. The first goal is to identify and characterize the core literature of Neuroethics as it exists today. The second goal is to track the gradual infusion of Neuroethics ideas into the general literature of Medical Ethics and Bioethics. Given the relative youth of Neuroethics as a discipline, there is a great opportunity to observe its transformation from a protologistic concept to a viable research field. The study will demonstrate the extent of publication in the emerging field of Neuroethics, how it borrows from broader fields such as philosophy, medicine and law, as well as how ethical principles are represented in patterns of ongoing discourse in the parent fields of neuroscience and bioethics.

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