The Scientific Article in the Age of Digitization

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The Scientific Revolution created a need for new forms of knowledge that exchange, as we have seen, eventually led to the establishment of the scientific societies and to the birth of the scientific journal. This has to be seen within the context of an emerging research practice that is based on two fundamental concepts: novelty and certification. Modern scientific research sets out to create new knowledge, adding to the stock of knowledge already available and, if necessary, replacing old knowledge that has been found to be inadequate. In addition, the researchers own claims as to novelty and validity are regarded as principally insufficient. Therefore research results need to be certified, i.e. subjected to standardized and widely accepted procedures that (at least attempt to) establish the novelty and validity of the researchers claims in an objective way. Behind these two concepts lies a third concept, viz the idea that science creates in an abstract sense a coherent body of knowledge about the world, that is based not on opinion but on justified beliefs, that is publicly accessible to the entire scholarly community, and that cannot be manipulated once its contents have been certified. The body of scientific knowledge consists precisely of the cumulative, certified outcomes of research as documented in the scientific literature.

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