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Publishing and Communicating Research


Additional Information

Admission requirements

A propedeutic exam of any Bachelor’s program.
Elective students: please contact the study advisor of your Bachelor’s program for information enrollment.


This course focuses on scientific and scholarly communication patterns over the last few centuries, from 17th century print- to 21st century web-based publishing, and the different ‘publication cultures’ between scientific fields. We will zoom in on the politics and economics of journal publishing, and will explain why articles became the norm in many fields. The role of evaluation in carrying out and communicating research will also be discussed. Why did counting publications become so popular in assessing scientific work? How did large bibliographic databases play a role in this process? How is scientific activity on the web being tracked? We will not only focus on ‘traditional’ forms of output such as books and journal articles, but will also pay attention to the more recent move to the web (including debates about open access). Theoretically, students will learn to make connections between the rise of the information society in the second half of the 20th century and the coinciding emergence of particular forms of scientific governance.

Course objectives

  • The students will become familiar with the differences in scientific communication patterns and cultures between disciplines;

  • The students will develop a critical perspective on the role played by certain ways of communication, in the light of the availability of quantitative measures;

  • The students will develop a basic insight into the historical development of scientific communication and publishing, in the light of the developments described in Science as Culture: Introduction


  • Lectures: Tuesday September 6th – October 18th from 9.00 until 11.00 1A12

  • Working group meetings: Friday September 9th – October 28th from 09.00 until 11.00 5A23

Note: On Friday September 16th there is no meeting

Assessment method

The assessment of this course is based upon two elements. The first element of the assessment is based upon a poster, made by a team, on a research topic related to the course. A poster is a specific type of scientific communication, with which most young scholars are confronted in their early steps in an academic career. Instruction on making such a poster is part of the working group meetings. Second element of the assessment is the participation to the course elements, the lectures and working group meetings. This means that participation to the course elements is obligatory, and only in special cases absence of the course elements is allowed


We will use blackboard as communication platform for lecture notes. assignments and announcements.

Reading list

Via Blackboard we will distribute a Course Guide that contains a full overview of the literature used in the course. Readings will be made available via Blackboard or through the Leiden University Library.


Registration is open from May 1st until August 15 2016. The course catalogue code is 6000MSCTSN, activity number 1524.
Please note that we can accommodate a maximum of 40 students. Admission is based on the students’ qualifications + a first come, first served basis.
Students from other universities will need permission to register.
Please send an e-mail to Inge van der Weijden at
This also holds for Exchange and Study Abroad students. For more information please see the “Prospective students website”:

Contact information

Dr. Inge van der Weijden, coordinator minor StiS,, 071-5276073