Identifying food safety–related research

Evgeny Klochikhin, Julia I. Lane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Overview The discussion in Chapters 1 and 2, as well as the results of the expert workshop, made it clear not only that food safety is an interdisciplinary research area, but also that it is difficult even for experts to agree on what food safety is. The challenge is not unique to food safety, of course. Defining fields is a common challenge in science, dating at least as far back as Aristotle (1). And developing a taxonomy to describe fields of research is particularly challenging. To quote a working document prepared by SRI International for the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics in 2012: The current official standard for describing R&D activity in science, engineering and technology is The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Directive No. 16, Standard Classification of Fields of Science and Engineering (FOSE), which first appeared in May 1978 in the Statistical Policy Handbook. The Directive has not been updated. The classification is organized around fields of science characterized as disciplines. The landscape of R&D activities has greatly changed since 1978. The scope of R&D activities has expanded beyond the traditional disciplines of science and engineering. New fields of R&D have emerged. R&D projects are often organized around broad national challenges, such as renewable (clean) and sustainable energies, cyber security, human health and safety, or technology areas such as robotics, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology. The outdated current classification does not adequately support this new landscape, nor does it capture the full breadth of R&D activities being conducted by the Federal Government. It does not include newer science disciplines, it does not enable description of inter/multi-disciplinary R&D activities, it does not support the flexible description of science from the perspectives of scientific discipline, socio-economic impact and enabling technologies, and it provides no clear mechanism for identifying emerging fields of R&D. (2) In sum, current scientific taxonomies do not provide clear labeling for many new or interdisciplinary fields, including food safety–related research. This chapter describes how text analysis can be used to address the challenge in general, using food safety research as the case study. The chapter begins with a brief review of text analysis, then describes two technical approaches: search strings and wikilabeling. A discussion follows on applications to the grant and dissertation databases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMeasuring the Economic Value of Research
Subtitle of host publicationThe Case of Food Safety
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781316671788
ISBN (Print)9781107159693
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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