The word is the deed: the ideology of the research paper in experimental science. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The research publication epitomizes the practice of contemporary science. This article emphasizes the underlying ideological basis and comments on the educational implications, particularly for graduate students. An attitudinal shift in the acquisitions of knowledge led to Henry Oldenburg's "invention" of the research article in the 17th century. Science was seen to be an open, cooperative activity, incremental in nature, with contributors building on previous work and submitting their work to scrutiny. Brief papers replaced weighty tomes. Subtle changes over the next century led to the current format. Ethnographic and textual analyses have shown that scientific facts are not revealed but constructed and that the research paper is carefully crafted to serve its twin functions, to inform and to persuade. Manufactured knowledge must be communicated and certified to preserve the communal nature of the investigative enterprise. Publication in a recognized forum fulfills that need. The word IS the deed.

publication date

  • December 1994