THE PHENOMENAL growth of science and technology in modern society has stimulated the development of a special field of inquiry focused on the quantitative measurement of scientific activity. Encouraged by the reception of Derek De Solla Price's pioneering study, Little Science, Big Science, scholars are presently engaged in a process of refining the methodological techniques and conceptual frameworks necessary for providing more accurate indicators of scientific activity.1
To date no one has produced a quantitative analysis, similar to Price's, of the number of people engaged in studies about science, or of the number of books, magazines, published papers, symposia, and other forms of popular and scholarly communications on this subject. Yet it would probably not be too startling to professional researchers in the vast range of academic disciplines and journalistic circles involved in science studies if such a quantitative analysis of their work revealed an exponential growth rate over the past twenty-five years exceeding that of science itself. While it may be an exaggeration to say that there are now more people studying about science than actually doing it, the information explosion in science studies is unmistakable.
In any rapidly developing intellectual endeavor, as historians have repeatedly shown, progress is not uniform. Some fields rise to a level of conceptual and methodological maturity in a matter of a few years. The sociology of science, for example, "blossomed" into a recognized subdiscipline of sociology virtually overnight. The psychology of science, conversely, has grown slowly. As Rudolf Fisch has noted, progress in that field has been "spasmodic, discontinuous and fragmentary."2