Representing Bioethics: The Degrees of Bioethics
with Amanda Favia
Poster accepted for Representing Bioethics
14th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics + Humanities
October 18–21, 2012
ABSTRACT Bioethics is a highly interdisciplinary field, drawing together philosophers, theologians, physicians, nurses, public health professionals, policymakers, and more. Authorship of bioethical journal articles reflects these diverse educational backgrounds, yet not all of these disciplines are represented evenly throughout the literature and it is unclear to what extent authors from different backgrounds engage with each other in the printed record of the field. Given the interdisciplinary nature of bioethics, it especially is important that all relevant fields have a voice in the literature, and understanding which groups are underrepresented (or unrepresented) is the first step toward achieving such inclusion. This poster presents an empirical bibliometric study of citation patterns in bioethical articles from 1970 to 2010 with a special emphasis on authors’ degree(s) (e.g., PhD, MD, PhD/MD, MPH). This analysis reveals which educational backgrounds are most prominent in the literature, as well as patterns of scholarly communication—for example, are philosophers more likely to cite other philosophers rather than physicians (and vice versa) and, if so, to what degree? We also examine which articles are most highly cited by authors from various backgrounds and make several recommendations for diversifying and integrating the field.