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Minerva and the Development of Science (Policy) Studies


This article analyzes the transformation of Minerva from an intellectual towards a scholarly journal by making use of bibliometric methods. The aim is to provide some empirical insights that help to understand what properties of the journal changed in the course of this transformation process. Minerva was one of the first journals that reflected on science and its role in society and science policy in particular. Analyzing the development of the journal sheds light on the emergence of science (policy) studies and on Minerva’s role as a forerunner in this field. In a first step, the methods will be described. The second section provides some empirical results of the publication output of Minerva and its relations to other journals in the field. The empirical findings are put into a broader perspective in the concluding third section.

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  1. The role of the most eminent intellectuals have been discussed in various publications about the Congress for Cultural Freedom. For the CIA agent Michael Josselson, see Shils and Coleman (2009), for Melvin Larsky, Scott-Smith (2000) and Berry (1993, 196 f.) for Daniel Bell, Aronova (2012) for Michael Polanyi and for Edward Shils.

  2. The Congress was re-organized and renamed as International Association for Cultural Freedom. The funding of the CIA was stopped and the CIA’s place was taken by the Ford Foundation, which had already been involved in the funding of the Congress since 1957 (McCarthy 1987, 99).

  3. Aant Elzinga (2012) provides a detailed explanation for Shils’ resistance regarding Science Studies.

  4. For a broader perspective on the development of the field, see Vandermoere/Vanderstraeten (2012).

  5. Aside from this, there were few other cases of misclassification: Articles containing acknowledgments that the paper has been presented at a conference were in part classified as ‘proceedings papers.’ In addition, there were a few articles with more than 100 references that were classified as ‘reviews.’ Both types of misclassification of the Web of Knowledge are known (Harzing 2012) and a re-classification was undertaken for these cases.

  6. See

  7. For example, Sanctius’ Minerva (1587).

  8. In the 18th century there was a cultural journal ‘Minerva’ edited by Christen Pram and Knut Lyne Rahbek in the period from 1785 until 1793. In 1792, Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz founded a political journal called ‘Minerva.’ And there is also a (book) serial called Minerva – Könyvtár (library) published in Budapest / Hungary in the data set of the cited reference search.

  9. See

  10. The publications do not include articles only, but also other document types like editorials and editorial materials. This explains in part the large number of publications of the two editors. For a list of Edward Shils’ contributions to Minerva, see without author (1996).

  11. For example, the document type ‘article’ has an average number of 37.33 references, ‘book review’ 3.90 references, ‘review’ 25.28 references and ‘letter’ only 2.03 references. For the two large document categories ‘chronicles’ and ‘reports & documents,’ the average number of references per document cannot be calculated because part of the data set was added by hand and therefore does not include information about the references.

  12. For example, Isis was founded in 1913, Osiris in 1936, The Bulletin of the British Society for the History of Science in 1949, and the Annals of Science in 1936.

  13. In Philosophy of Science there were journals like Philosophy of Science (founded in 1934) the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (founded in 1950) or Synthesis (founded in 1936).

  14. The total number of references include also references not displayed in the graph: These are, for example, references to monographs and to serials with less than 5 references during that period.

  15. The first generation of science and technology (policy) journals started publishing in a narrow time frame: Science Studies was launched in 1971 and renamed Social Studies of Science in 1975. Science, Technology & Human Values was founded in 1976, Science Communication in 1979 and the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society in 1981. Research Policy was launched in 1971 and Scientometrics in 1978. Research Evaluation (1991) and Perspectives on Science (1993) entered the field a bit later.


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I would like to thank Roy MacLeod for his valuable comments on an older draft version of this paper and Kevin Schön for handling the citation data.

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Correspondence to Niels C. Taubert.

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Taubert, N.C. Minerva and the Development of Science (Policy) Studies. Minerva 50, 261–275 (2012).

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  • Minerva
  • Science policy studies
  • Bibliometric analysis