Alex Csiszar studies the history of science in nineteenth-century Europe, especially in France and Britain. He publishes primarily on the history of communications media and information technology in the sciences. His work asks how print media — formats such as newspapers, journals, books, and card catalogues — have evolved in conjunction with changes in how groups come to know things about the natural world, and in the criteria they use to trust the knowledge claims of others.

His first book, under contract with University of Chicago Press, is called The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century. This book traces the rise of the modern scientific journal in Western Europe, asking about the relationship between credit and publishing, the rise of referee systems and judgment, and changing notions of trust and public accountability. It is the first book to attempt to explain how being an investigator of the natural world came, by the early twentieth century, to be identified closely with being a very particular kind of author. Csiszar is currently working on a new book on the history of search practices in the sciences.

News:

4/19/16: A new piece in Nature on the strange history of the scientific referee: "Peer Review: Troubled from the start".  And here it is in Spanish. (For more on the history of refereeing, see my article "Objectivities in Print".)

3/14/16: See my Q&A on the history of scientific retractions at Retraction Watch.

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