Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pre-Ordering Now Available

Johns Hopkins University Press had a pleasant surprise in store for me at last week’s History of Science Society meeting in San Diego: advance copies of my book! The fabulous people in production moved heaven and earth to get bound books to the conference two-and-a-half months ahead of the original publication date (February 2013). Thanks to MIT’s Margy Avery for capturing the moment when Bob Brugger, my steadfast Hopkins editor, made my night.

Alas, the three copies of Competing with the Soviets that the Press sent to HSS are currently the only extant copies, but the rest of the bunch should be reaching the warehouse soon. But fear not! You can place your order with Hopkins now, for shipping very soonish. It’s a bargain, too, at the classroom friendly price of $19.95.

Federal Guidelines Session at HSS

New federal guidelines state that investigators are “expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data . . . created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants.” Designed to spur innovation and reduce the duplication of effort, these guidelines have instead created confusion and even mild panic among historians. What constitutes “data” for the historian of science? How best might this “data” be organized and shared with others? How can historians balance their responsibility to share the fruits of federally funded research without jeopardizing their own claims to priority? What of archival restrictions, or the need to protect a research subject’s privacy? What are the NSF’s expectations for a “data management plan”?

The History of Science Society’s Committee on Research and the Profession (CORP) has assembled a workshop to address these concerns at this year’s meeting. If you’re attending this year’s HSS meeting, please join us Friday night at 7:30 PM for a discussion with Jon Stiles, the Director of Archive Services at the University of California, Berkeley; Dominique Tobbell, of the University of Minnesota; and Alex Wellerstein, of American Institute of Physics.

Can’t make the session? The NSF has put together some (somewhat?) helpful documents on its interpretation of the policy. Though they leave many questions unanswered, do have a look at the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences’ statement on data policy management and stated policy on data archiving. And if you have any brilliant insights on how historians might “manage” and “share” their “data,” please do share in the comments below.


This year marks the 50th anniversary of what is almost certainly the most famous work in the history and philosophy of science: Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of the Scientific Revolutions. You may not know the book, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term “paradigm shift.” That’s Tom Kuhn. The Program in the History of Science and the Department of Philosophy at Princeton have put together a two-day workshop this weekend to consider Kuhn’s legacy, both for the history and philosophy of science and the wider world. (Click on the image to enlarge.) I’ll be there, if nothing else to see whether the philosophers and historians have anything to say to one another.