Since the late nineteenth century, observers of science have recognized a close link between several of the practices associated with scientific objectivity and the apparatus of scientific publishing. So compelling has seemed this link that it is commonly believed to be of very long standing, and even a precondition for the emergence of modern science itself. But this belief is both historically mistaken and philosophically misleading. This essay tracks two moments during which the bond between scientific publishing and certain epistemic virtues were in the process of formation. The first moment concerns the spread of referee systems in British science in the early nineteenth century, practices that were later transformed into what we now call peer review. The second concerns the late nineteenth-century consolidation of the periodical literature as the seat of collective scientific opinion at the same time that objectivity in science came commonly to be viewed as inhering in the rational coordination of such collective opinions.
The 1890s saw an explosion of ambitious projects to build a massive classification of knowledge that would serve as a basis for universal catalogues of scientific publishing. The largest of these were the rival International Catalogue of Scientific Literature (London) and Répertoire Bibliographique Universel (Brussels). This essay argues that one widely influential but overlooked source of the enthusiasm for classification as a technology of search and retrieval during this period was the emergence of new methods and technologies for classifying and keeping track of people, and in particular, the criminal identification laboratory of Alphonse Bertillon located in Paris.