29 March 2011. Issue 45 of the “ESPI Perspectives” series highlights the importance of social sciences and the humanities in space exploration research. The findings are the results of a bibliometric analysis starting from two books on Humans in Outer Space, which have been published by ESPI recently.
Space exploration is an area of research and activity that is usually associated with natural sciences. However, many key questions regarding space exploration concern the social sciences or the humanities, i.e. questions with an epistemological background. Therefore it is obvious that contributions from social sciences and the humanities are instrumental when trying to understand the meaning and impact of space exploration on humankind in its full richness. While the usefulness, even the necessity, of such a multidisciplinary approach is beyond any doubt, it is not clear how well research in the area of social sciences and the humanities is established today in the field of space exploration. This Perspective presents the results of a bibliometric analysis on the research, which has been performed in this field until today. The starting point of this analysis was two books on Humans in Outer Space, which have been published by ESPI in 2009 and earlier this year. The analysis aims to highlight to what extent research on space exploration is being addressed by the social sciences and humanities or whether this multidisciplinary research is still just a subset within natural sciences.
During this analysis ESPI Research Intern Roberta Daveri visited the European Science Foundation (ESF) in Strasbourg for a thorough introduction into this research activity. Diego de la Hoz del Hoyo (ESF Visiting Junior Science Officer) and Rifka Weehuizen (ESF Science Officer) provided valuable insight during many useful discussions during and after Roberta Daveri’s stay at ESF. Without their support this work would not have been possible.
This issue of “ESPI Perspectives” is co-authored by ESPI Research Intern Roberta Daveri and ESPI Resident Fellow Gerhard Thiele.
The authors of the “ESPI Perspective”: Roberta Daveri (ESPI Research Intern) and Gerhard Thiele (ESPI Resident Fellow)