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Reproduced, Reinterpreted, Lost: Trajectories of scientific knowledge across contexts

A Research Paper by Julio Gimenez, Mark Baldwin, Paul Breen, Julia Green, Ernesto Roque Gutierrez, Richard Paterson, Jayne Pearson, Martin Percy, Doug Specht and Guy Waddell, published by Text and Talk

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.


Doug Specht


Doug Specht is a Chartered Geographer (CGeog. FRGS) and a Senior Lecturer (SFHEA) at the Communication and Media Research Institute, within the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues, and he has written on this subject in numerous books and papers. He has also spoken on topics of data ethics and mapping practices at conferences and invited lectures around the world. He is a member of the editorial board at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, and sits on BSi committee IST/36 Geographic Information, where he focuses on geographic data in the SDGs. Doug is additionally a trustee of the Santa Rosa Fund, an educational charity; and a core member of the Environmental Network for Central America.


11 February 2020
Published By
Text and Talk
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