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 forthcoming book is called The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century. It follows the rise of the modern scientific journal in Western Europe, focusing on the changing relationship between authorship and scientific identity, transformations in systems of judgement, and developing 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.

See my recently published piece "The Catalogue that Made Metrics" in Nature News. (And here is a French version in Pour la science.) This is based on the longer paper, "How Lives Became Lists and Scientific Papers Became Data," in BJHS.



Read more