On scholarly journals and the balance between shared evaluation standards and epistemic diversity


This talk will outline a research design to be used in a study of the Canadian scientific journal ecosystem. This project falls under one of the QSSLab endeavours related to the role of journals in structuring knowledge. The main research goal will be to compare the theoretical (i.e. declared) thematic scope of journals to their empirical one as observed by the papers they end up publishing. An additional goal will be to propose indicators for monitoring the empirical scope of a journal, notably its tightness understood as the similarities in between the papers. Normative literature in sociology, history and philosophy of science allows one to postulate some hypothesis about the effect of scope tightness, notably that a balance should be struck between having communities lacking shared public standards of evaluation and communities without sufficient epistemic diversity (see for example the tenets of Hélène Longino’s “Contextual Empiricism”). The research will leverage a dataset from the Érudit consortium and will form as a basis for a SSHRC partnership grant with the organization. The methodology will build on bibliometrics, social network analysis and conceptual analysis. The implications of this research extend beyond Canada’s borders. Insights gained will inform decisions made by researchers, policymakers, and publishers, helping them navigate the evolving landscape of academic publishing. Moreover, this study contributes valuable knowledge to the fields of sociology of science and bibliometrics, shedding light on the intricate interplay between journals, knowledge dissemination, and the academic community.

Oct 19, 2023 3:00 PM — 4:00 PM
QSS talks
Rowe 4025
6100 University Ave, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Jérémie Dion
Jérémie Dion
PhD student, Université du Québec à Montréal