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2014-2015 Seminar Series

 Organized by Alessandro Delfanti, Allison Fish, and Alexandra Lippman

Alex Csiszar: “The Scientific Journal: A Political History”

Please join us for a talk by Alex Csiszar, Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University
Wednesday, May 13 from 12-1:30 pm, Second Floor Instruction Room, Shields Library

Scientific journals are expected to do a lot of different things. They are often identified with both the cumulative and the present state of knowledge possessed by scientific communities. Journals are supposed to be public enough that any interested reader might access them; yet at the same time they are rigorously exclusive. To publish in a particular set of journals is to be deemed an expert in the corresponding scientific field. When questions arise as to what scientific consensus is on some matter of concern, governmental bodies, the public, and journalists routinely look to the reputable journal literature dealing with that subject. The list of a researcher’s papers is a unit by which careers are measured and a dominant factor in decisions about hiring, tenure, and grants. Scientific journals are both permanent archive and breaking news, both complete record and painstaking selection, both public forum and the esoteric domain of experts.

This talk will explore how and why this improbable state of affairs came into being over the course of the nineteenth century. The shift whereby the authority of science came to be vested increasingly in serialized print did not come about through any deliberate decision taken by scientists based on the fitness of the periodical press to play this role. Far from emerging out of a timeless need for a secure communications medium and format, the ascendancy of the scientific journal occurred as European scientific elites sought to establish their collective legitimacy to speak authoritatively about nature following the political upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars. Since that time, the scientific journal has been a nodal point where expert cultures of credibility have intersected, uneasily, with public criteria of accountability.

Alex Csiszaris an Assistant Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. His research concerns the history of scientific authorship, publishing, refereeing practices, and information management from the French Revolution to the twentieth century. He is currently completing a book called The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century, a history of how and why the scientific journal came to be such a powerful force in modern scientific life.

Don Brenneis on “The Work of Scholarship in the Era of Electronic Reproduction”

Please join us for a talk by Don Brenneis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Tuesday, April 21 from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH.

Don Brenneis (BA, Stanford; PhD, Harvard) is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and works at the intersections of language and other kinds of communicative practice with social, political, and intellectual life. His initial research was in a diasporic South Asian community in Fiji and focused both on the complex relationships between language and conflict and on the transformation of local cultural life from its north Indian antecedents. In recent years he has pursued related questions in quite different setting, focusing on the ethnography of research funding panels and other key sites in which peer review figures centrally in the ongoing shaping and circulation of knowledge in the social sciences. Most recently he has moved to complement his studies of deliberative review by ethnographic research on the underlying structure, uses, and consequences of citation analysis and other bibliometric indicators of scholarly and scientific value within the academy and the research funding world.

This recent focus on evaluation and assessment was catalyzed in part by his extensive experience in scholarly association governance and scholarly publishing and many years spent as reviewer and funding panel participant. He edited American Ethnologist from 1989-1994, was President-Elect and then President of the American Anthropological Association (1999-2003), and served on the editorial committee of the University of California Press from 2005-2010 (including two years as co-chair). He is currently Co-Editor of the Annual Review of Anthropology and has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Professeur Invité at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and Fellow at Lichtenberg-Kolleg, University of Goettingen.

Fernando Garcia Naharro, “Science Hanging from Tree: Official Image of Science under Franco”

April 22, 2015, 12:10pm-1:30pm

Abstract: The Franco regime (Dictatorship regime from 1939 to 1975) had a highly distinctive vision of what “science” should be, in sharp contrast to the views of the former Second Spanish Republican regime (the democratic regime from 1931 to 1939, surrendered after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)). In the first part of the talk I examine the image of science, the official vision of what “science” should be during Franco. Focusing on the first two decades of the dictatorship and working with the reports from the Spanish National Research Council I intend to explore official discourses from the point of view of the role played by them in the design of the new scientific policy and on the configuration of the “new values”, those that were inspired by the ideology of the National Movement and the Catholic tradition and used as guides for establishing proper scientific knowledge.

What did they say about knowledge, the knower and the known? Which were the places for science and the scientists? What were the functions of science publications? In the second part, I intend to put this in relation to the main object of my thesis project, the science publishing. My dissertation deals with the interactions between History of Science and History of the book and how they can complement and reinforce one another. So I argue that most of the questions above can be embodied in, and can be understood through, the centrally authorized scientific publications produced under the regime and the complex set of elements that contributed to the conformation of different spaces for the Expert and the Laity analyzed through the publications in the Spanish publishing field.

Fernando García Naharro is a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Contemporary History at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). He holds a MA. in Contemporary History and a M.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis of Communication and Knowledge (Complutense University of Madrid). His main research interests include history of the book and media, historical anthropology of reading, science publishing; social epistemology, semiotics and cultural history. His dissertation, “Science publishing during Franco´s dictatorship (1939-1975)” analyzes how texts circulate in the publishing field, where texts relate to other objects and players, different agents or organizations that perform different roles in the production, sale and distribution of science publications in Spain during those years. A chapter based on this project is in Martínez Martín, Jesús: Historia de la edición en España (1939-1975), Madrid, Marcial Pons, 2015.

COLLABRA: Dan Morgan on Open Access and Adventures in Digital Publishing at UC Press

Please join us for Dan Morgan speaking on the new open access journal Collabra.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
2nd Floor Instruction Room, Shields Library

The University of California Press has this year launched an Open Access mega-journal – Collabra – with unique revenue-sharing features, and a modular approach to disciplines and communities within this infrastructure. The journal is not “just another OA journal,” but a new concept aiming to operationally manifest and spread the value donated by the academic and professional research community back to the same community. Collabra is also collaborating (!) and partnering with the best and brightest in digital publishing innovation, to ensure all the latest, relevant scholarly communication developments are present at the journal. Furthermore, Collabra is one of the first products from a brand new digital team at UC Press, which is exploring myriad scholarly publishing innovations. Dan Morgan will discuss the background, development, and execution of Collabra, and illustrate some of the other ideas being explored and discussed at the Press.

Dan Morgan is Digital Science Publisher at the University of California Press, and the Publisher of Collabra. He joined UC Press in June 2014 to focus on mission-driven, not-for-profit, digital initiatives. He has worked in scholarly publishing for over 13 years, in publishing management, research, open access, and strategy roles. All of that time was at a large commercial publisher where he ended up the head of the Psychology and Cognitive Sciences journals department, then Senior Manager for Open Access and other outreach for North America. He is a passionate advocate for open access, open science, and advancing scholarly communication. When he isn’t thinking about Collabra he enjoys playing guitars in bands, films, craft cocktails, thriller novels, and dogs. @djjmorgan

Alexandra Lippman “Big Names: Attribution, Tribute and Technology in Brazilian Funk”

Funk carioca, funk from Rio de Janeiro, becomes possible through extensive networks of people, sounds, payola, gifts, tribute, and technologies. I explore various economies of reciprocity in the music genre and how they relate to attribution of authorship and ownership. Names—of DJs, MCs, soundsystems and websites—become important as they are associated with, dubbed over, or erased from songs or sound samples to either expand or control their circulation. Furthermore, historically Brazilian patterns of personalismo and patronage shape how musicians utilize new technologies to extend their personal networks, build their names, and appeal to DJs to get played. The logics of intellectual property and authorship seem inverted—musicians often pay to play and the song’s destination (the DJ) rather than its origin (the composer) is named and credited in the lyrics.

Alexandra Lippman is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Innovating Communication in Scholarship project at the University of California, Davis and is affiliated with Science and Technology Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. Her primary research explores how globalizing alternative intellectual property practices impact digital media, access to knowledge, and music in Brazil. She is the founder of the Sound Ethnography Project and has published in Norient and Anthropology Today for a special issue on alternative copyright, which she co-edited.

Note this is our Food for Thought format where everyone is asked to read a paper ahead of time. After you RSVP, you will be emailed with the paper to be discussed.

Francesco Lissoni “Double Disclosures and the Negotiation of Scientific Credit in Research Teams”

Tuesday March 3, 2015, 12:10-1:30 p.m.
Social Science & Humanities 1246

The talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Science and Innovation Studies.

Mike Furlough, “The HathiTrust Research Corpus”

This talk will provide a brief overview of HathiTrust and an opportunity to discuss how it can better support research and teaching at University of California, Davis.  Since its founding in 2008 HathiTrust has aspired to build a sustainable program of collective stewardship for library collections in the United States and around the world.  Mike Furlough will review the organization’s structure, services, and collections, as well as major initiatives now underway, which are intended expand access to US federal documents, enable computational research across millions of digitized texts, and catalyze new collective. He will also discuss the HathiTrust Research Corpus, providing computational access for nonprofit and educational users to published works in the public domain and, in the future, on limited terms to works in-copyright from the HathiTrust collections. Finally, he will discuss aspects of how new digital libraries like HathiTrust are changing the scholarly communications landscape.

Mike Furlough, Executive Director of the HathiTrust Digital Library since May, 2014. Prior to HathiTrust, Furlough was Associate Dean for Research and Scholarly Communications at the Pennsylvania State University Library. He has more than a dozen years of experience leading initiatives in digital scholarship, content stewardship, and scholarly communications, and served as an inaugural member of HathiTrust’s Program Steering Committee before becoming its Executive Director last year.

HathiTrust is an international partnership of academic and research institutions dedicated to ensuring the preservation and accessibility of the vast record of human knowledge. The partnership owns and operates a digital repository containing millions of public domain and in copyright volumes, digitized from partnering institution libraries and other sources. The preserved volumes are made available in accordance with copyright law as a shared scholarly resource for students, faculty, and researchers at the partnering institutions, and as a public good to the world community. For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 25, 2015. From noon to 12:10 to 1:30, SS&H 1246 (STS/CSIS room)

Ted Striphas: “Algorithmic Culture: A Vocabulary of Technology and Society”

Monday, February 23, 2015, from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH

Professor Ted Striphas will be providing a talk based on his current book project, entitled Algorithmic Culture, which is about the use of computational processes and how they sort, classify, and prioritize people, places, objects, and ideas. What happens when the work of culture, long performed by human beings, gets outsourced significantly to machines? And where did the notion to do such a thing come from, anyway? He will offer an overview of the work, the use of keywords as a method, an examination of the keyword “algorithm,” and consider the implications of this research for the future of cultural politics.

Ted Striphas, one of the leading voices in the field of cultural studies, is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication & Culture, Indiana University.  His research focuses, broadly, on the relationship of technology and culture.  The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control, his first book, was published by Columbia University Press in 2009. Twitter: @striphas.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and the Digital Cultures Initiative

Alessandro Delfanti, “High energy papers: digital scholarly publishing in the making”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015, from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH

In this talk I will present a preliminary framework for analyzing the changing shape of scholarly journals. I start out by reconstructing the birth and stabilization of the Journal of High Energy Physics in the early 1990s, a journal that subsequently became one of the reference publications in its field. By analyzing the emergence of online and open access scholarly publishing I aim at critically reflecting upon contemporary global open access initiatives in physics. In this work I use metaphors drawn from computer science, such as forkingmigration, and rebooting, as heuristic concepts for the analysis of digital media evolution. By studying the values and choices of scientists that became adopters and developers of new media technologies, I highlight the power dynamics and resilience of the modern scholarly communication system embodied by the scientific journal.

Alessandro Delfanti is a postdoc with the Innovating Communication in Scholarship project at the University of California, Davis, and is affiliated with the Genome Center and the STS Program. Previously, Alessandro has worked and taught at McGill University and the University of Milan. His work revolves around the politics of digital media, participatory cultures, and science communication. He is the author of Biohackers. The Politics of Open Science (London: Pluto Press 2013).

Reed Malcolm, “How to Publish Your Book”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH

If you’ve wondered how to get a book published with an academic press, please come hear Reed Malcolm of UC Press demystify the process. This discussion, sponsored by ICIS and the UC Davis Humanities Institute, will include preparing a book proposal, pitching it to an editor, the ins and outs of the review process and revising your manuscript for publication. The event is intended primarily for graduate students and junior faculty but everyone is invited to contribute their comments, questions and experiences.

Reed Malcolm, Senior Editor for Anthropology and Asian Studies, holds a M.A. in the history of religion from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in political science from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining UC Press in 1995, Reed worked at the University of Chicago Press and at Parallax Press in Berkeley. The UC Press Anthropology list encompasses all aspects of social and cultural studies, including comparative, historical, and multi-sited ethnography. Core areas include medical anthropology, public anthropology, global studies, religion, politics, linguistics, science and technology, Asia, and Latin America. Reed has had the good fortune of publishing such well-known authors as Arthur Kleinman, Joao Biehl, Elinor Ochs, Tanya Luhrmann, Joel Robbins, and Michael Jackson, among others. The Asian Studies at UC Press list is one of the longest running and most highly-regarded in the country, having published award-winning titles in history, anthropology, sociology, politics and policy. Authors have included Frederick Wakeman, Andrew Gordon, Sheldon Pollock, Romila Thapar, and Melvyn Goldtstein.

Evelyn Lincoln “Publication Anxiety in Early Modern Italy”

Thursday, December 11 from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH (lunch will be provided).

Talk by Evelyn Lincoln, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and also Italian Studies at Brown University. University Discussant: Alessandro Delfanti, Postdoctoral Fellow, Innovating Communication in Scholarship, UC Davis.

Co-sponsored with Center for Science and Innovation StudiesScience & Technology Studies, and History. 

When: Tuesday, November 18th from 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Where: Room SS&H 1246 (STS /CSIS Room)

And please stick around after the talk for afternoon coffee (2-5pm) in the STS/CSIS room.

Concerning research involving human subjects, numerous recommendations, declarations, guidelines and treaties have been developed at the international level. In spite of many different motives and interests behind these international rules and standards, some legal principles regarding the protection of the human subject and the quality and transparency of research can be found in most or even all of them. These internationally recognized legal principles have been implemented and specified in the new Swiss Federal Act on Research involving Human Beings (HRA, in force since January 2014). One of the particularities of the Swiss interpretation of the international legal principles is the concept of the clinical trial sponsor: Being a sponsor, legally defined as a “person or organization which takes the responsibility for the initiation, management, and financing of a clinical trial”, means having the duty to supervise the clinical trial as well as being liable for damages that research subjects may suffer. After a short introduction to the topic, Lea Schläpfer will discuss with the participants the role of the clinical trial sponsor against the background of the internationally recognized legal principles of biomedical law, with a focus on the differences between the sponsor’s responsibilities to the human research subjects under Swiss law and under US law.

Lea Schläpfer is a PhD candidate in biomedical ethics and law at the Universities of Lucerne and Zurich, Switzerland. She holds Master’s degrees in both sociology and law. For her master thesis in sociology she conducted an empirical research project on the topic of HIV/AIDS at the National University of Lesotho. From 2009 until 2011, she was a research associate for the General Secretary of the Swiss Medical Association (FMH). Since 2012, Lea is a research fellow at the University of Lucerne working on the Project “New legal questions concerning drug development”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Concurrently, she is a visiting scholar at UC Davis focusing on her doctoral dissertation on the “Role of the Sponsor in Clinical Research”.

Alexandra Hui on Standardizing Species: Listening to, Representing & Universalizing Bird Sounds in the 20th Century

Thursday, December 11 from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH (lunch will be provided).

Talk by Alexandra Hui, Associate Professor of History at Mississippi State University. Discussion moderated by Alexandra Lippman, Postdoctoral Fellow, ICIS, UC Davis.

Co-sponsored with Center for Science and Innovation Studies, Science & Technology Studies, and History.

Abstract: My larger interests are in the creation and maintenance of listening practices.  I ask what informs scientific communities’ process of perceptual standardization and what are the consequences for these individuals’ listening, their science, and their understanding of the environment. So, how did individuals’ conception of their environment relate to their aural perception of it? I am especially interested in the subfields of biology that study vocal species – ornithology, marine biology, herpetology, entomology, etc.  In this talk I will give a brief overview of my monograph project on how field scientists learn to listen in the twentieth century.  I will then offer a close examination of field notebooks, correspondence, academic articles, and field guides, to trace the changing efforts of both avocational birders and ornithologists to represent bird sounds according to new standards and goals.  These efforts to represent bird song, often in visual form, made it into a scientific object.  They also made specific birds’ songs repeatable and transportable; separate in time and space from the bird itself.  This narrative arc provides insight into how scientific communities standardize subjective aural experiences, perhaps at the cost of alienating nature from the individual listener’s experience of it.

Scott Edmunds on Open Publishing for the Big-Data Era

Thursday, October 30, from 12-1:30 pm, Room 1246, SSH (lunch will be provided).

Talk by Scott Edmunds, GigaScience journal and Beijing Genomics Institute. Discussion moderated by Mackenzie Smith, UC Davis University Librarian

Co-sponsored with UC Davis University Library, the Data Science Initiative, and microBEnet.