Science in Context Journal Impact Factor & Information

Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Journal description

Science in Context is devoted to the study of the sciences from the points of view of comparative epistemology and historical sociology of scientific knowledge. The journal is committed to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of science and its cultural development - it does not segregate considerations drawn from history philosophy and sociology. Controversies within scientific knowledge and debates about methodology are presented in their contexts.

Current impact factor: 0.40

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2016
2014 Impact Factor 0.404
2013 Impact Factor 0.286
2012 Impact Factor 0.548
2011 Impact Factor 0.395
2010 Impact Factor 0.489
2009 Impact Factor 0.236
2008 Impact Factor 0.179
2007 Impact Factor 0.154
2006 Impact Factor 0.196
2005 Impact Factor 0.357
2004 Impact Factor 0.277
2003 Impact Factor 0.208
2002 Impact Factor 0.239
2001 Impact Factor 0.32
2000 Impact Factor 0.186
1999 Impact Factor 0.155
1998 Impact Factor 0.118

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 0.45
Cited half-life >10.0
Immediacy index 0.15
Eigenfactor 0.00
Article influence 0.45
Website Science in Context website
Other titles SIC, science in context
ISSN 0269-8897
OCLC 16060175
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Author's Pre-print on author's personal website, departmental website, social media websites, institutional repository, non-commercial subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central, Europe PMC or arXiv
    • Author's post-print on author's personal website, departmental website, institutional repository, non-commercial subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central, Europe PMC or arXiv, on acceptance of publication
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Published abstract may be deposited
    • Pre-print to record acceptance for publication
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledge
    • Must link to publisher version
    • This policy is an exception to the default policies of 'Cambridge University Press (CUP)'
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Argument This paper examines the intertwined relations between eugenics and medical genetics from a Swedish perspective in the 1940s and 1950s. The Swedish case shows that a rudimentary form of genetic counseling emerged within eugenic practices in the applications of the Swedish Sterilization Act of 1941, here analyzed from the phenomenon of “heredophobia” ( ärftlighetsskräck ). At the same time genetic counseling also existed outside eugenic practices, within the discipline of medical genetics. The paper argues that a demand for genetic counseling increased in the 1940s and 1950s in response to a sense of reproductive responsibility engendered by earlier eugenic discourse. The paper also questions the claim made by theoreticians of biopolitics that biological citizens have emerged only during the last decades, especially in neoliberal societies. From the Swedish case it is possible to argue that this had already happened earlier in relation to the proliferation of various aspects of eugenics to the public.
    Science in Context 09/2015; 28(3):489-513. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000216
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    ABSTRACT: Argument In the winter of 1849–1850 in Königsberg, German physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894) conducted pioneering measurements concerning the propagation speed of stimulations in the living nerve. While recent historians of science have paid considerable attention to Helmholtz's uses of the graphic method, in particular his construction of an instrument called “myographion,” this paper draws attention to the inscription surfaces that he used in effective ways for capturing and transmitting his findings. Against the background of recent archival findings, I show that Helmholtz used isinglass copies of his graphical recordings in order to communicate the basic principle of previous measurements to the academic public. As the correspondence with his Berlin-based friend and colleague Emil du Bois-Reymond (1818–1896) and the subsequent development of the myographion make clear, these curves were not meant as measurements but functioned as demonstrations. In other words, Helmholtz's curves did provide “images of precision” (Olesko and Holmes 1993) – but they were not precise images.
    Science in Context 09/2015; 28(3):357-96. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000174
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    ABSTRACT: Argument The sect of ancient Greek physicians who believed that medical knowledge came from personal experience also read the Hippocratic Corpus intensively. While previous scholarship has concentrated on the contributions of individual physicians to ancient scholarship on Hippocrates, this article seeks to identify those characteristics of Empiricist reading methodology that drove an entire medical community to credit Hippocrates with medical authority. To explain why these physicians appealed to Hippocrates’ authority, I deploy surviving testimonia and fragments to describe the skills, practices, and ideologies of the reading community of ancient Empiricist physicians over the one-hundred year period 175 to 75 BCE. The Empiricist conception of testimony taken on trust operative within that reading community elided the modern distinction between personal and institutional targets of trust by treating Hippocratic writings as revelatory of the moral character of Hippocrates as an author. Hippocrates’ moral character as an honest witness who accurately observed empirical phenomena aligned with the epistemic virtues of an empirical medical community who believed that medical knowledge came from personal experience. So I argue that Empiricist reading culture constructed a moral authority of honesty and accuracy from Hippocratic writings, enlarged the personal authority of Hippocrates among medical readers, and contributed to the development of Hippocratism.
    Science in Context 09/2015; 28(3):465-87. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000204
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    ABSTRACT: Argument Glass vessels such as flasks and test tubes play an ambiguous role in the historiography of modern laboratory research. In spite of the strong focus on the role of materiality in the last decades, the scientific glass vessel – while being symbolically omnipresent – has remained curiously neglected in regard to its materiality. The popular image or topos of the transparent, neutral, and quasi-immaterial glass container obstructs the view of the physico-chemical functionality of this constitutive inner boundary in modern laboratory environments and its material historicity. In order to understand how glass vessels were able to provide a stable epistemic containment of spatially enclosed experimental phenomena in the new laboratory ecologies emerging in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, I will focus on the history of the material standardization of laboratory glassware. I will follow the rise of a new awareness for measurement errors due to the chemical agency of experimental glass vessels, then I will sketch the emergence of a whole techno-scientific infrastructure for the improvement of glass container quality in late nineteenth-century Germany. In the last part of my argument, I will return to the laboratory by looking at the implementation of this glass reform that created a new oikos for the inner experimental milieus of modern laboratory research.
    Science in Context 09/2015; 28(3):397-425. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000137
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    ABSTRACT: The first section of this issue brings together four essays on "surfaces" - a subject matter which might seem conspicuous or, indeed, palpable enough. Just think of the sheets of paper, window panes, and haptic interfaces surrounding you: the world, evidently, is diffused with surfaces, membranes, and boundaries of all sorts. Some of these things have been salient, for obvious reasons in fields such as media studies, or implicit in notions such as "boundary object": the retina, photographic plates, basilar membranes, the skin, or various forms of "displays" immediately come to mind. Not even mentioning their immense metaphoricity, surfaces are the entities that make things visible, inscribable, or knowable. But not all of them have been so salient. In fact, most surface-phenomena arguably - and, typically, for similarly obvious reasons - haven't received much scholarly notice at all: plastic wraps, lacquers, lubricants, coatings, silicon wavers, cell membranes, glass, plant leaves, the ozone layer.
    Science in Context 09/2015; 28(3):311-5. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000149
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    ABSTRACT: Argument This article explores the entangled histories of three imaging techniques in early nineteenth-century British physical science, techniques in which a dynamic event (such as a sound vibration or an electric spark) was made to leave behind a fixed trace on a sensitive surface. Three categories of “sensitive surface” are examined in turn: first, a metal plate covered in fine dust; second, the retina of the human eye; and finally, a surface covered with a light-sensitive chemical emulsion (a photographic plate). For physicists Michael Faraday and Charles Wheatstone, and photographic pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot, transient phenomena could be studied through careful observation and manipulation of the patterns wrought on these different surfaces, and through an understanding of how the imaging process unfolded through time. This exposes the often-ignored materiality and temporality of epistemic practices around nineteenth-century scientific images said to be “drawn by nature.”
    Science in Context 09/2015; 28(3):317-55. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000125
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    ABSTRACT: Argument Temporal issues appear to be crucial to the relationship between life scientists and their field sites and to the making of science in the field. We elaborate on the notion of practices of time to describe the ways life scientists cope with multiple and potentially conflicting temporal aspects that influence how they become engaged and remain engaged in a field-site, such as pleasure, long-term security, scientific productivity, and timeliness. With this notion, we seek to bring enhanced visibility and coherence to the extensive but rather scattered and limited treatments of temporal practices in field sciences that already exist.
    Science in Context 06/2015; 28(2):237-258. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000022
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    ABSTRACT: Argument In this paper I study the engagement of German ornithologists with the Collared Dove, a bird species of Asian origin that spread massively throughout Central Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. Never before had the spread of a single species attracted so much attention from European ornithologists. Ornithologists were not only fascinated by the exotic origin of the bird, but even more so by the unprecedented rapidity of its expansion. As it is argued in the paper, the advent of the bird created an outstanding opportunity for ornithologists to study the process of biogeographic range expansion. The paper traces how knowledge on the dove's expansion took shape in the social, discursive, and material practices of a large-scale observation campaign of German ornithologists (both amateurs and academics). The paper also argues that ornithologists’ observation practices have contributed to the construction of a benevolent cultural image of the Collared Dove. This sets the case of the Collared Dove apart from many recent debates in which newly arriving species have been framed as a threat to biodiversity. The paper contributes both to a historical understanding of scientific fieldwork as well as of the role of scientific knowledge in the shaping of cultural meanings of animals.
    Science in Context 06/2015; 28(2):259-284. DOI:10.1017/S026988971500006X
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    ABSTRACT: When the Association of German Scientists and Physicians last met in Düsseldorf exactly twenty-eight years ago on September 24, a debate took place following lectures by Felix Klein and Alfred Pringsheim on roughly the same topic to which I would like to direct your attention today. The printed report of the Düsseldorf debate only remarked that, “It is not possible to go into details here,” so one can only guess how two of the most powerful teacher personalities among German mathematicians of that time had confronted one another with their diametrically opposed views on this topic and how they did so with their characteristically lively spirit.
    Science in Context 06/2015; 28(02):297-310. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000071
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    ABSTRACT: Argument At Metaphysics A 5 986a22-b2, Aristotle refers to a Pythagorean table, with two columns of paired opposites. I argue that 1) although Burkert and Zhmud have argued otherwise, there is sufficient textual evidence to indicate that the table, or one much like it, is indeed of Pythagorean origin; 2) research in structural anthropology indicates that the tables are a formalization of arrays of “symbolic classification” which express a pre-scientific world view with social and ethical implications, according to which the presence of a principle on one column of the table will carry with it another principle within the same column; 3) a close analysis of Aristotle's arguments shows that he thought that the table expresses real causal relationships; and 4) Aristotle faults the table of opposites with positing its principles as having universal application and with not distinguishing between those principles that are causally prior and those that are posterior. Aristotle's account of scientific explanation and his own explanations that he developed in accordance with this account are in part the result of his critical encounter with this prescientific Pythagorean table.
    Science in Context 06/2015; 28(2):171-193. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000046
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    ABSTRACT: Argument This paper examines the postwar reconstruction of the Polish academic system. It analyzes a debate that took place in the newly established university in the proletarian city of Łódź. The vision of the shape of the university was a bone of contention between the professors. This resulted in two contentious models of a university: “liberal” and “socialized.” Soon, universities were transformed into crucial institutions of the emerging communist state, where national history, ideology, and the future elite were produced and shaped. The social university was transformed into a socialistic university. Analysis of this process of transformation enables me to scrutinize the difficult clashes between the leftist intellectuals and the rising system of power that was not entirely hostile to them. The case of Poland also shows that sovietization did not mean solely a ruthless convergence of Central and Eastern Europe with a universal model most completely implemented in the USSR. Power hitting the ground was redeployed along various local interests, institutional conjunctures, and personal intransigencies. On a more universal level, I present this case in the context of the challenge of modernization and its many respective accommodations.
    Science in Context 06/2015; 28(2):215-236. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000083
  • Science in Context 03/2015; 28(01):1-7. DOI:10.1017/S0269889714000295
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    ABSTRACT: Argument In the 1970s a public controversy erupted over the proposed use of brain operations to curtail violent behavior. Civil libertarians, civil rights and community activists, leaders of the anti-psychiatry movement, and some U.S. Congressmen charged psychosurgeons and the National Institute of Mental Health, with furthering a political project: the suppression of dissent. Several government-sponsored investigations into psychosurgery rebutted this charge and led to an official qualified endorsement of the practice while calling attention to the need for more "scientific" understanding and better ethical safeguards. This paper argues that the psychosurgery debate of the 1970s was more than a power struggle between members of the public and the psychiatric establishment. The debate represented a clash between a postmodern skepticism about science and renewed focus on ultimate ends, on the one hand, and a modern faith in standards and procedures, a preoccupation with means, on the other. These diverging commitments made the dispute ultimately irresolvable.
    Science in Context 03/2015; 28(01):99-129. DOI:10.1017/S0269889714000349
  • Science in Context 03/2015; 28(01):163-170. DOI:10.1017/S0269889714000362
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    ABSTRACT: Argument As historian Henning Schmidgen notes, the scientific study of the nervous system would have been "unthinkable" without the industrialization of communication in the 1830s. Historians have investigated extensively the way nerve physiologists have borrowed concepts and tools from the field of communications, particularly regarding the nineteenth-century work of figures like Helmholtz and in the American Cold War Era. The following focuses specifically on the interwar research of the Cambridge physiologist Edgar Douglas Adrian, and on the technology that led to his Nobel-Prize-winning research, the thermionic vacuum tube. Many countries used the vacuum tube during the war for the purpose of amplifying and intercepting coded messages. These events provided a context for Adrian's evolving understanding of the nerve fiber in the 1920s. In particular, they provide the background for Adrian's transition around 1926 to describing the nerve impulse in terms of "information," "messages," "signals," or even "codes," and for translating the basic principles of the nerve, such as the all-or-none principle and adaptation, into such an "informational" context. The following also places Adrian's research in the broader context of the changing relationship between science and technology, and between physics and physiology, in the first few decades of the twentieth century.
    Science in Context 03/2015; 28(01):31-52. DOI:10.1017/S0269889714000313