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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 8, 2020

Reproduced, reinterpreted, lost: Trajectories of scientific knowledge across contexts

Julio Gimenez, Mark Baldwin, Paul Breen, Julia Green, Ernesto Roque Gutierrez, Richard Paterson, Jayne Pearson, Martin Percy, Doug Specht and Guy Waddell
From the journal Text & Talk

Abstract

This article reports on a research project that uses two innovative heuristics to examine the changes that texts – produced to disseminate new scientific knowledge – undergo when they travel across space and time. A critical analysis of such transformations would enhance our understanding of the processes involved in knowledge dissemination and inform the practice of communicating scientific knowledge to a variety of audiences. Based on our study of 520 closely linked science and science-related sources collected over 12 months in 2016, we argue that when scientific knowledge is re-contextualized to be disseminated to different audiences, it is not simply rephrased or simplified to make it more accessible. Rather, it also undergoes transformational processes that involve issues of social power, authority and access that require new analytical tools to surface more clearly. We report on the methodology of the study with a particular focus on its heuristics, and the transformations that result from a critical analysis of the data collected. We finally discuss a number of theoretical and practical implications in relation to contemporary practices for re-entextualizing scientific knowledge.

Appendix

Pattern 1

Emspak, Jesse. 11 May 2016. What we would actually do to stop a ‘doomsday’ asteroid. BBC Future. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160510-what-we-would-actually-do-to-stop-a-doomsday-asteroid (accessed 9 October 2017).

Zhang, Qicheng, Kevin J. Walsh, Carl Melis, Gary B. Hughes, & Philip Lubin. 2015. Orbital simulations for directed energy deflection of near-earth asteroids. Procedia Engineering, 103. 671–678.

Pattern 2

Carrington, Damian. 23 May 2016. World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/23/world-could-warm-by-massive-10c-if-all-fossil-fuels-are-burned (accessed 9 October 2017).

Gertz, Emily J. 23 May 2016. New study predicts an intolerably hot world. TakePart. http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/05/23/high-heat-global-warming-fossil-fuel-renewable-energy (accessed 9 October 2017).

Tokarska, Katarzyna B., Nathan P. Gillett, Andrew J. Weaver, Vivek K. Arora, & Michael Eby. 2016. The climate response to five trillion tonnes of carbon. Nature Climate Change, 6(9). 851–855.

Pattern 3

Coghlan, Andy. 16 March 2016. Rats learn to sense infrared in hours thanks to brain implants. The New Scientist, 3066, 45. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2080671-rats-learn-to-sense-infrared-in-hours-thanks-to-brain-implants/ (accessed 9 October 2017).

Gray, Richard. 17 March 2016. Could we soon have superhero NIGHT VISION? Brain implants could give us a ‘sixth sense’ by making us see infrared. Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3496895/Could-soon-superhero-NIGHT-VISION-Brain-implants-rats-sixth-sense-making-infrared.html (accessed 9 October 2017).

Hartmann, Konstantin, Eric E. Thomson, Ivan Zea, Richy Yun, Peter Mullen, Jay Canarick, Albert Huh, & Miguel A. L. Nicolelis. 2016. Embedding a panoramic representation of infrared light in the adult rat somatosensory cortex through a sensory neuroprosthesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(8). 2406–24.

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Published Online: 2020-02-08
Published in Print: 2020-05-27

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