Science in Context (SCI CONTEXT )

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


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.

  • Impact factor
    Show impact factor history
    Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Science in Context website
  • Other titles
    SIC, science in context
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Cambridge University Press

  • 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 for HSS journals, 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
    • Author's post-print for STM journals, on author's personal website on acceptance of publication
    • Author's post-print for STM journals, on departmental website, institutional repository, non-commercial subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central, Europe PMC or arXiv, after a 6 months embargo
    • 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 acknowledged with set statement, for deposit of Authors Post-print or Publisher's version/PDF
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Publisher last reviewed on 07/10/2014
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Scientific uncertainty is fundamental to the management of contemporary global risks. In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the start of the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic. This declaration signified the risk posed by the spread of the H1N1 virus, and in turn precipitated a range of actions by global public health actors. This article analyzes the WHO's public representation of risk and examines the centrality of scientific uncertainty in the case of H1N1. It argues that the WHO's risk narrative reflected the context of scientific uncertainty in which it was working. The WHO argued that it was attempting to remain faithful to the scientific evidence, and the uncertain nature of the threat. However, as a result, the WHO's public risk narrative was neither consistent nor socially robust, leading to the eventual contestation of the WHO's position by other global public health actors, most notably the Council of Europe. This illustrates both the significance of scientific uncertainty in the investigation of risk, and the difficulty for risk managing institutions in effectively acting in the face of this uncertainty.
    Science in Context 09/2014; 27(3):511-29.
  • Science in Context 06/2014; 27(2):249-74.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the 1920s there were still very few fossil human remains to support an evolutionary explanation of human origins. Nonetheless, evolution as an explanatory framework was widely accepted. This led to a search for ancestors in several continents with fierce international competition. With so little fossil evidence available and the idea of a Missing Link as a crucial piece of evidence in human evolution still intact, many actors participated in the scientific race to identify the human ancestor. The curious case of Homo gardarensis serves as an example of how personal ambitions and national pride were deeply interconnected as scientific concerns were sometimes slighted in interwar palaeoanthropology.
    Science in Context 06/2014; 27(2):359-83.
  • Science in Context 06/2014; 27(2):307-31.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper considers some aspects of the reception and development of contemporary mathematics in Spain during the first half of the twentieth century, more specifically between 1910 and 1950. It analyzes the possible influence of scientists’ mobility in the adoption of newer views or theories. A short overview of key points of the social and scientific background in nineteenth-century Spain locates the expounded facts in an appropriate context. Three leading threads are followed. First is the consideration of the mobility of some Spanish mathematicians during a period including World War I and World War II – when Spain was a theoretically neutral country – and the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Second, the emergence and socio-political behavior of a dominant mathematical group gathered around Julio Rey Pastor between 1915 and 1936 is also accounted for, as well as its continuity after the Civil War into the 1940s. Third, attention is paid to the migration or interior exile of a number of mathematicians as a consequence of the Civil War. The paper is organized around nine Tables containing information on mobility of mathematicians, doctorates awarded in the mathematical sciences, and mathematical production in Spain during this period, accompanied by statistical résumés and comments on interesting entries. The main conclusions drawn are: 1) a number of integrants of the Rey group, himself included, officially traveled to Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland – usually after having obtained doctorates and fixed positions – imported mathematical knowledge into Spain; 2) the group also managed to dominate the mathematical panorama from both the scientific and the sociological viewpoint; 3) social usages in Spanish mathematical affairs established in Spain in the years prior to the Civil War present a clear continuity under the Franco regime once the war was over.
    Science in Context 01/2014; 1(1).
  • Science in Context 01/2014; 3(3).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The major catalyst of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work in economics was the behavioral economics program of the Sloan and Russell Sage Foundations, which ran from 1984 to 1992. The paper first introduces the Sloan and Sage foundations and the background of the main protagnists involved. Subsequently, it explores the behavioral economics program from start to finish.
    Science in Context 06/2012; 25(2):263-86.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We expand upon the notion of the "credibility cycle" through a study of credibility engineering by the food industry. Research and development (R&D) as well as marketing contribute to the credibility of the food company Unilever and its claims. Innovation encompasses the development, marketing, and sales of products. These are directed towards three distinct audiences: scientific peers, regulators, and consumers. R&D uses scientific articles to create credit for itself amongst peers and regulators. These articles are used to support health claims on products. However, R&D, regulation, and marketing are not separate realms. A single strategy of credibility engineering connects health claims to a specific public through linking that public to a health issue and a food product.
    Science in Context 12/2011; 24(4):487-515.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Germans occupying Paris arrested Emile Borel and three other members of the Académie des Sciences in October 1941 and released them about five weeks later. Drawing on German and French archives and other sources, we argue that these events illustrate the complexity of the motivations and tactics of the occupiers and the occupied. While Borel and his colleagues were genuine members of the Resistance, and those who arrested them were full participants in a brutal occupation, both sides respected a bargain, of no small importance to the Vichy regime, that allowed the university to pursue its work if its members avoided overt acts of opposition.
    Science in Context 12/2011; 24(4):587-623.
  • Science in Context 09/2011; 24(3):311-28.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 1895 when the Lumière brothers unveiled their cinematographic camera, many scientists were elated. Scientists hoped that the machine would fulfill a desire that had driven research for nearly half a century: that of capturing the world in its own image. But their elation was surprisingly short-lived, and many researchers quickly distanced themselves from the new medium. The cinematographic camera was soon split into two machines, one for recording and one for projecting, enabling it to further escape from the laboratory. The philosopher Henri Bergson joined scientists, such as Etienne-Jules Marey, who found problems with the new cinematographic order. Those who had worked to make the dream come true found that their efforts had been subverted. This essay focuses on the desire to build a cinematographic camera, with the purpose of elucidating how dreams and reality mix in the development of science and technology. It is about desired machines and their often unexpected results. The interplay between what "is" (the technical), what "ought" (the ethical), and what "could" be (the fantastical) drives scientific research.
    Science in Context 09/2011; 24(3):329-59.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This essay considers the work of projection and the hand of the projectionist as important components of the social space of the cinema as it comes into being in the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth. I bring the concept ofMaurice Merleau-Ponty on the place of the body as an entity that applies itself to the world "like a hand to an instrument" into a discussion of the pre-cinematic projector as an instrument that we can interpret as evidence of the experience of the work of the projectionist in the spirit of film theory and media archaeology, moving work on instrumentation in a different direction from the analysis of the work of the black box in laboratory studies. Projection is described as a psychological as well as a mechanical process. It is suggested that we interpret the projector not simply in its activity as it projects films, but in its movement from site to site and in the workings of the hand of its operator behind the scenes. This account suggests a different perspective on the cinematic turn of the nineteenth century, a concept typically approached through the study of the image, the look, the camera, and the screen.
    Science in Context 09/2011; 24(3):443-64.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: From 1924 to 1948, developmental psychologist Arnold Gesell regularly used photographic and motion picture technologies to collect data on infant behavior. The film camera, he said, records behavior "in such coherent, authentic and measurable detail that ... the reaction patterns of infant and child become almost as tangible as tissue." This essay places his faith in the fidelity and tangibility of film, as well as his use of film as evidence, in the context of developmental psychology's professed need for legitimately scientific observational techniques. It also examines his use of these same films as educational material to promote his brand of scientific child rearing. But his analytic techniques - his methods of extracting data from the film frames - are the key to understanding the complex relationship between his theories of development and his chosen research technology.
    Science in Context 09/2011; 24(3):417-42.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Film scholars have long posed the question of the specificity of the film medium and the apparatus of cinema, asking what is unique to cinema, how it constrains and enables filmmakers and audiences in particular ways that other media do not. This question has rarely been considered in relation to scientific film, and here it is posed within the specific context of cell biology: What does the use oftime-based media such as film coupled with the microscope allow scientists to experience that other visualization practices do not? Examining three episodes in the twentieth-century study of the cell, this article argues that the apparatus ofmicrocinematography constitutes what might be thought of as a technical portal to another world, a door that determines the experience of the world that lies on the other side of it. In this case, the design of apparatuses to capture time-lapsed images enabled the acceleration of cellular time, bringing it into the realm of human perception and experience. Further, the experience of the cellular temporal world was part of a distinct kind of cell biology, one that was focused on behavior rather than structure, focused on the relation between cells, and between the cell and its milieu rather than on cell-intrinsic features such as chromosomes or organelles. As such, the instruments and technical design of the microcinematographic apparatus may be understood as a kind of materialized epistemology, the history of which can elucidate how cinema was and is used to produce scientific knowledge.
    Science in Context 09/2011; 24(3):381-416.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Discussions of the scientific uses of moving-image technologies have emphasized applications that culminated in static images, such as the chronophotographic decomposition of movement into discrete and measurable instants. The projection of movement, however, was also an important capability of moving-image technologies that scientists employed in a variety of ways. Views through the microscope provide a particularly sustained and prominent instance of the scientific uses of the moving image. The category of "education" subsumes theses various scientific uses, providing a means by which to bridge the cultures of scientific and popular scientific moving images.
    Science in Context 09/2011; 24(3):361-80.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Standards of botanical practice in Sweden between 1850 and 1950 were set, not only in schools and universities, but also in naturalist societies and botanical exchange clubs, and were articulated in handbooks and manuals produced for schoolboys. These standards were maintained among volunteer naturalists in the environmental movement in the 1970s, long after the decline and disappearance of collecting from the curriculum. School science provides a link between the laboratory, the classroom, and the norms and practices of everyday life: between the various insides" and "outsides" of educational and research settings.
    Science in Context 06/2011; 24(2):239-58.
  • Science in Context 06/2011; 24(2):127-41.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: By the mid-eighteenth century, governors of the major European states promoted the study of nature as part of natural-resource based schemes for improvement and economic self-sufficiency. Procuring beneficial knowledge about nature, however, required observers, collectors, and compilers who could produce usable and useful descriptions of nature. The ways governments promoted scientific explorations varied according to the form of government, the makeup of the civil society, the state's economic ideologies and practices, and the geographical situation. This article argues that the roots of a major natural history initiative in Denmark-Norway were firmly planted in the state-church organization. Through the clergymen and their activities, a bishop, supported by the government in Copenhagen, could gather an impressive collection of natural objects, receive observations and descriptions of natural phenomena, and produce natural historical publications that described for the first time many of the species of the north. Devout naturalists were a common species in the eighteenth century, when clergymen and missionaries involved themselves in the investigation of nature in Europe and far beyond. The specific interest here is in how natural history was supported and enforced as part of clerical practice, how specimen exchange was grafted on to pre-existing institutions of gift exchange, and how this influenced the character of the knowledge produced.
    Science in Context 06/2011; 24(2):143-66.