Visiting Speaker
Alex Csiszar
Associate Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Metrics, Citation Analysis, and the History of Quantifying Science (Part II)
Friday
Jun 21, 2019
Watch video
12:00 pm
177 Huntington Ave
11th floor

We live in a world in which metrics and algorithms for judging impact, importance, and relevance have become ubiquitous. Current debates about the uses and consequences of these tools require that we understand better where they come from in the first place. One key place to look is the early history of citation analysis in the sciences. The origin of the Science Citation Index is usually told as a story about a novel search technology that was later appropriated (some would say illegitimately) for purposes of evaluation and measurement. This talk will challenge that narrative by looking back at some of the early uses of the SCI to evaluate researchers and research communities along with the controversies these uses raised. Doing so suggests that the problem of information retrieval and the problems of valuation aren't easily pulled apart. The talk will consider two privileged examples: attempts to compare global scientific production and attempts to use citation data to investigate sexual discrimination in the sciences.

About the speaker
Alex Csiszar studies the history of publishing, information technology, and judgment in the sciences from the nineteenth century to the present. His first book, The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century (2018) is a history of the emergence and rise to dominance of the modern scientific journal in Western Europe. He is currently writing a book about the history of search technologies in the sciences as technologies of valuation.
Visiting Speaker
Alex Csiszar
Associate Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Metrics, Citation Analysis, and the History of Quantifying Science (Part II)
Fri
Jun 21, 2019
12:00 pm
177 Huntington Ave
11th floor
ADD to calendar

We live in a world in which metrics and algorithms for judging impact, importance, and relevance have become ubiquitous. Current debates about the uses and consequences of these tools require that we understand better where they come from in the first place. One key place to look is the early history of citation analysis in the sciences. The origin of the Science Citation Index is usually told as a story about a novel search technology that was later appropriated (some would say illegitimately) for purposes of evaluation and measurement. This talk will challenge that narrative by looking back at some of the early uses of the SCI to evaluate researchers and research communities along with the controversies these uses raised. Doing so suggests that the problem of information retrieval and the problems of valuation aren't easily pulled apart. The talk will consider two privileged examples: attempts to compare global scientific production and attempts to use citation data to investigate sexual discrimination in the sciences.

about the speaker
Alex Csiszar studies the history of publishing, information technology, and judgment in the sciences from the nineteenth century to the present. His first book, The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century (2018) is a history of the emergence and rise to dominance of the modern scientific journal in Western Europe. He is currently writing a book about the history of search technologies in the sciences as technologies of valuation.