Reproduced, reinterpreted, lost: Trajectories of scientific knowledge across contexts

Gimenez, Julio; Baldwin, Mark; Breen, Paul; Green, Julia; Roque Gutierrez, Ernesto; Paterson, Richard; Pearson, Jayne; Percy, Martin; Specht, Doug and Waddell, Guy (2020). Reproduced, reinterpreted, lost: Trajectories of scientific knowledge across contexts. Text & Talk, 40(3) pp. 293–324.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2020-2059

Abstract

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.

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