Science in Context 33 (3):273-297 (2020)

Sébastien Plutniak
École Française De Rome
In the last decades, many changes have occurred in scientific publishing, including online publication, data repositories, file formats and standards. The role played by computers in this process rekindled the argument on forms of technical determinism. This paper addresses this old debate by exploring the case of publishing processes in prehistoric archaeology during the second part of the twentieth century, prior to the wide-scale adoption of computers. It investigates the case of a collective and international attempt to standardize the typological analysis of prehistoric lithic objects, coined typologie analytique by Georges Laplace and developed by a group of French, Italian, and Spanish researchers. The aim of this paper is to: 1) present a general bibliometric scenario of prehistoric archaeology publishing in continental Europe; 2) report on the little-known typologie analytique method in archaeology, using publications, archives, and interviews; 3) show how the publication of scientific production was shaped by social (editorial policies, support networks) and material (typography features and publication formats) constraints; and 4) highlight how actors founded resources to control and counterbalance these effects, namely by changing and improving publishing formats.
Keywords prehistoric archaeology  scientific publishing  print history  standardisation  typography  typology
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