Call for Papers: Little Science, Big Science, Global Science: The Growth of Science and its Consequences, a Special Issue of Minerva, Deadline: 31.05.2024

Little Science, Big Science, Global Science:
The Growth of Science and its Consequences

A Special Issue of Minerva
Edited by Jochen Gläser, Pablo Kreimer, Justin Powell & Robert Tijssen

Call for Papers (deadline for abstracts: 31 May 2024)
Sixty years ago, Derek de Solla Price observed the explosive growth of science. In his seminal book Little science, big science (Price 1986 [1963]) he developed a quantitative historical approach to study science and applied it to explore growth processes, offering a sociological analysis of processes driving growth. He famously argued that it could not continue unabated, because if it did, “…we should have two scientists for every man, woman, child, and dog in the population, and we should spend on them twice as much money as we had. Scientific doomsday is therefore less than a century distant“ (Price 1986 [1963]: 17). Yet this observation has been relativized, as we witness continued “pure exponential growth” of scientific publications (Baker & Powell 2024). Since 1980, the publication volume indexed in the Web of Science has grown at annual rates of around 8-9% (Bornmann & Mutz 2015; Fortunato et al. 2018). Researcher numbers have also grown continuously, although at a much lower rate and less evenly (Schneegans, Lewis & Straza 2021: 51). Indeed, despite the ever more inclusive global science system, with most countries contributing research,
considerable spatial and disciplinary disparities persist.
Continuous growth has been driven by several interrelated processes Price did not discuss. The transition to mass higher education initiated vast growth in university capacity, with scientific personnel increasing apace. New researchers from all regions entered the increasingly globalized scientific communication system by publishing in traditional journals and in many new ones created in burgeoning scientific communities. Today, nearly all countries contribute to global science via their research universities; countries that were peripheral, such as China, now contribute most to the quantitative growth of global science, while others have just begun (Baker & Powell 2024).
Scientific communities respond to growth and increasing competition with internal specialization and differentiation, in turn contributing to scientization and growing collaboration in science, already observed by Price. Expansion of global and multidisciplinary collaborations has, in turn, increased the publication output of teams and the visibility of networks (Aksnes & Sivertsen 2023). Explosive growth in researchers, journals, and publications as well as integration of higher education and global science has led to structural and cultural change as scientists respond to information overload, technological innovations, and the need to address wicked problems.
Governance, funding models, peer review, and continuous performance evaluations are just some of the major factors affecting change (Whitley 2010: 3-7). Yet limited appreciation of the drivers and dynamics of the growth of science as a global process and of the structural changes responding to that growth poses new challenges to our understanding.

With this special issue of Minerva, we mark the 60th anniversary of Little science, big science by exploring current growth processes in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities—and their consequences. We invite contributions that go beyond the simple description of growth
processes to analyze their causes and (social, economic, and political) consequences for knowledge production and for the global science system.

Contributions may address such questions as:
• What are the consequences of this growth? How do responses to the effects of growth processes at various levels change scientific communication, funding, and scientific work organization, affecting the production of knowledge?
• How has growth shifted the relationships of science to other institutions—education, politics, economy, and the media, among others—with implications for the legitimacy of science?
• How does the nature of science change due to global growth processes and national political dynamics? Are we witnessing a re-natonalization of science?
• How can we study the sources of continuing growth of global science in more robust and rigorous ways? Which processes can we measure quantitatively which others defy such measurement?
• What effects have rising competition and collaboration had on individual, organizational, national, regional, and international levels?
• How do growth processes affect the distribution of authority in global science, particularly the ability of established and emerging actors to set research agendas and to balance the production of knowledge, its diffusion, and its uses?
• What are likely future consequences, benefits, and risks of continued growth: within science itself and in society?

Abstracts of max. 1,000 words are welcome by 31 May 2024 to
The Special Issue editors will notify potential contributors by mid-June 2024, with submission of full papers due by mid-September 2024. We plan to carry out an author workshop in Europe prior to double-blind peer review. Expected publication of the SI will be in April/May 2025.

Jochen Gläser, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Pablo Kreimer, Universidad Maimónides, Buenos Aires, Argen]na
Juskn J.W. Powell, Université du Luxembourg
Robert Tijssen, Leiden University, Netherlands; Stellenbosch University, South Africa


The full call with all references and information can be found here.