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  • 1 Georgia Institute of Technology 30332 Atalanta Georgia (USA) 30332 Atalanta Georgia (USA)
  • | 2 Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) (USA)
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In the context of bridging the so-called externalist and cognitive perspectives on the growth of research communities, a cancer problem domain is examined (1) to distinguish a growth in knowledge from a proliferating research literature, and (2) show how measurement of formal communication, uninformed by the historical record, clarifies or distorts sociological interpretations of innovation and growth in biomedicine. Specifically, coauthorship and citation networks are analyzed for reverse transcriptase researchers, 1970–74. This analysis reveals the visibility of large National Cancer Institute laboratories in the research literature, but demonstrates the need to augment disaggregated network data with intellectual and social (policy) history to explain the growth and structure of the domain.