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Moving to Philadelphia to work for Smith, Kline & French

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Scientometrics, JD Bernal and Joshua Lederberg
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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In my talk I found I was able to trace down the evolution of, of scientometrics, you know, the business of science of science. Derek, in his book, used that term, 'the science of science'... 'prologue to a science of science', which is the term that Bernal used. By the time, another 10 years or so had gone by scientometrics got into it becauase of Nalimov. Not clear to me when that precisely occurred but the journal came in and Tibor Braun was more susceptible to, you know, Russian influence because of the Hungarian location. They knew about scientometrics but when did you first hear that term, can you remember?

I guess it was 1970, I don't know.

I don't remember when I first saw his, you know the CIA translated his book, it was free, it was available but it wasn't talked about much, it was a government document.

I wonder if science of science was somehow a Marxist idea or a Soviet idea?

Well I'm pretty sure that's the way it was considered, it was, they discussed it. His concept of... they gave him credit for, and I said about Alvin Weinberg who became, you know his greatest exponent, big science is what he called it. And Derek was talking about little science. It was Weinberg that made that distinction being at a place, like Oak Ridge, that's big science. And he talks about science the way that Bernal did so I said, it was implicitly a Bernalian, Weinberg, criteria for scientific choice. Did you know he wrote two commentaries for us in Citation Classics?

I remember something. Yeah... I never connected the criteria for scientific choice with Bernal, but now that you mention it.

Yeah, he doesn't say it. I don't think he ever, to my knowledge, cited it. I don't think he did but I'm sure he must have known about it, I'm not sure. So, fascinating how all these things interact. Josh Lederberg, he's very familiar with his work. Did you know that he wrote this paper in the East German academy, he was invited to write a commentary about Bernal and the 50th anniversary of The Social Function of Science? When I went back and looked it up it, turns out Josh wrote a paper in that called The Social Function of the Scientist, based on using that 50th anniversary. And then, that paper was republished in an American book. I mean, American based, I don't know who the publisher was - it might have been [unclear] or somebody. I couldn't figure out what, you know, I saw the paper listed in his bibliography and then I realised we had, Meher found the book in my library, on the shelf, it's sitting on my desk now, it's a collection of papers. It's called Science and Society, something, like that. If you've never seen it, Josh's paper is in there and it has to do with the whole concept of what he calls, truth telling, you know the ethics of science. So, Josh has some interesting comments. He said basically if the guy, his Marxist... the Marxist influence on his work he was blindsided by Stalin and he wouldn't actually criticise Lysenko - that was the biggest mistake he ever made. I think most people feel that was clearly an emotional bias although he had shaky feelings about it.

Were you at all... did you know about Vannevar Bush?

I remember reading that. When I was at the [unclear] project I remember seeing an article by him in the Atlantic Monthly, there was a, but that occurred much earlier. I think his original, I'm trying to remember, there was something he wrote in the early '50s that I'd read but before that, I had not know, I didn't know about Vannevar Bush before that. I heard about him through the rapid selector work and all that, you know, later. Essentially, up to 1951, till I went to that project, the only thing I ever knew about, I didn't, I didn't relate Bernal to this at all. I mean, to documentation. When I was reading it, it was the social... science and the state so to speak, you know, and that's what Weinberg was talking about, the government is giving great support to science. Before that, science was private, you know, the upper crust, elite and industrial, it wasn't government. The war is what really produced the connection between government and science.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 6 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009