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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


Dr Doug Specht is a cultural geographer and educationalist. His research explores themes related to environmental justice, human rights, and access to education, with a focus on the production and codification of knowledge though cartographic artefacts and in educational settings. In recognition of his work, he has been appointed as a Chartered Geographer and Chartered Teacher. In addition, he has been awarded Advanced Teacher Status, alongside being a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE. Dr. Specht has authored numerous articles and books, including Mapping Crisis, the Routledge Handbook of Geospatial Technology and Society, the Media and Communications Student Study Guide and Imagining Apocalyptic Politics in the Anthropocene. He writes regularly on ethics, environmental and human rights, education, and mapping practices in such publications as WonkHE, The Conversation, Geographical, and for Times Higher Education. Dr Specht is a member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Geography, Westminster papers in Communication and Culture, and Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman. He is Chair of the Environmental Network for Central America.


11 February 2020
Published By
Text and Talk
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