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

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Argument Field research stations are households as a result of allegoric notions of the scientific family, and because they fulfill the purpose of a home in the field in a literal sense. They meet the practical and physical need for bed and board, as well as the emotional and intellectual need for social cohesion. I argue that this, in combination with local gender identity, opened the door for a woman of lower social strata, the daughter of a fisherman, to take upon herself the role as station household matriarch, thus gaining an integral role within an inner circle of influential scientists. Secondly, I argue that locally employed members of the research station were valued primarily for their social skills. For the sake of ensuring necessary conditions for scientific work, being abrasive was just as important as being agreeable.
    Science in Context 12/2015; 28(04):587-611. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000277
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    ABSTRACT: Argument My contribution focuses on two aspects strictly related each other. On one hand, the progressive marginalization of Volterra from Italian scientific and political life after the rise of Fascism – because of his public anti-Fascist stance, both as a senator and as a professor – until his definitive exclusion on racial grounds in 1938. On the other hand, the reactions of his French colleagues and friends to this ostracism, and the support he received from them. As it emerges from several sources (Volterra's correspondence, institutional documentation, conference proceedings, etc.), it was mainly thanks to their support that he was able to escape the complete isolation and the “civil death” to which the regime condemned many of its adversaries.
    Science in Context 12/2015; 28(04):637-674. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000265
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    ABSTRACT: Argument This paper argues that Spinoza's notions of “conatus” and “power of acting” are derived by means of generalization from the notions of “force of motion” and “force of determination” that Spinoza discussed in his Principles of Cartesian Philosophy to account for interactions among bodies (impacts) on the basis of their degrees of contrariety. I argue that in the Ethics , Spinoza's ontology entails that interactions must always be accounted for in terms of degrees of “agreement or disagreement in nature” among interacting things. The notion of “power of acting” is used to express the extent to which a thing's conatus is aided or restrained by external causes on the basis of its degree of agreement or disagreement in nature with them. “Power of acting” generalizes the same approach and method of resolution at the basis of the notion of “force of determination” in order to account for causal interactions not only among the simplest bodies but also among more complex individuals.
    Science in Context 12/2015; 28(04):515-543. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000319
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    ABSTRACT: Argument In 1877, a young mathematician named Joseph Boussinesq presented a mémoire to the Académie des sciences which demonstrated that some differential equations may have more than one solution. Boussinesq linked this fact to indeterminism and to a possible solution to the free will versus determinism debate. Boussinesq's main interest was to reconcile his philosophical and religious views with science by showing that matter and motion do not suffice to explain all there is in the world. His argument received mixed criticism that addressed both his philosophical views and the scientific content of his work, pointing to the physical “realisticness” of multiple solutions. While Boussinesq proved to be able to face the philosophical criticism, the scientific objections became a serious problem, thus slowly moving the focus of the debate from the philosophical plane to the scientific one. This change of perspective implied a wide discussion on topics such as instability, the sensitivity to initial conditions, and the conservation of energy. The Boussinesq debate is an example of a philosophically motivated debate that transforms into a scientific one, an example of the influence of philosophy on the development of science.
    Science in Context 12/2015; 28(04):613-635. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000290
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    ABSTRACT: Argument Today's models of temporal discounting are the result of multiple interdisciplinary exchanges between psychology and economics. Although these exchanges did not result in an integrated discipline, they had important effects on all disciplines involved. The paper describes these exchanges from the 1930s onwards, focusing on two episodes in particular: an attempted synthesis by psychiatrist George Ainslie and others in the 1970s; and the attempted application of this new discounting model by a generation of economists and psychologists in the 1980s, which ultimately ended in the diversity of measurements disappointment . I draw four main conclusions. First, multiple notions of temporal discounting must be conceptually distinguished. Second, behavioral economics is not an integration or unification of psychology and economics. Third, the analysis identifies some central disciplinary markers that distinguish modeling strategies in economics and psychology. Finally, it offers a case of interdisciplinary success that does not fit the currently dominant account of interdisciplinarity as integration.
    Science in Context 12/2015; 28(04):675-713. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000307
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    ABSTRACT: Argument A plagiarism charge in 1827 sparked a public controversy centered between Jean-Victor Poncelet (1788–1867) and Joseph-Diez Gergonne (1771–1859) over the origin and applications of the principle of duality in geometry. Over the next three years and through the pages of various journals, monographs, letters, reviews, reports, and footnotes, vitriol between the antagonists increased as their potential publicity grew. While the historical literature offers valuable resources toward understanding the development, content, and applications of geometric duality, the hostile nature of the exchange seems to have deterred an in-depth textual study of the explicitly polemical writings. We argue that the necessary collective endeavor of beginning and ending this controversy constitutes a case study in the circulation of geometry. In particular, we consider how the duality controversy functioned as a medium of communicating new fundamental principles to a wider audience of practitioners.
    Science in Context 12/2015; 28(04):545-585. DOI:10.1017/S0269889715000289
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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 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 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 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 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