This study, being preliminary in nature, is most closely related to that of Jacobs, although reasons for the extent and character of diffusion will be advanced. This resulted in a total of 4,059 papers being retrieved.To focus the results further, the same query was used in only the Title field, on the assumption that this would result in papers that dealt with the topic as the main subject, while a search in the Topic field would also retrieve papers that simply mentioned the subject without it being the main subject of research.
There is, however, some research on the diffusion of scientific ideas across disciplines.
For example, Kiss, Broom, Craze, and Rafols (2009) used an epidemiological model of diffusion to trace the use of the term in the Web of Science from its discovery in 1985 and the publication of papers in biochemistry and cell biology, to the extent of its use by 2008, when the term was found not only in the biological sciences, but also in medicine, engineering, materials science, physics and computer science.
Over this decade, 34 per cent of these papers (i.e., 12) were published in seven journals and the (1 paper).
The remaining 23 papers were distributed over fifteen journals in the following fields: psychology (14 papers), social science (3 papers), health-related (2 papers), journalism (2 papers), and marketing (2 papers).
The Web of Science assigns more than one research area to a paper and, consequently, this analysis is not generally used.
Instead, the sources are assigned to disciplines or groups of disciplines, in the Results section that follows.
In fact, thirteen of the top twenty journals are health-related, including health informatics, health education, and health libraries.
Only five journals can be described as core information sciences journals, and the final two are in the fields of computer science and chemistry.
This interest in information behaviour on the part of disciplines other than information science is not new: even in the decade of the 1960s, the 17 papers with the term information needs in the title were assigned to nine subject categories and were published in journals representing six different disciplines.
The aim of this paper is not to explore some theory of the diffusion of research concepts across disciplines, but to present a preliminary map of the phenomenon in terms of its growth over time and the diversity of disciplines now concerned with information behaviour issues. The only paper I have found, which explores the diffusion of ideas from information science into other disciplines, is that by Cronin and Pearson (1990).