One way to try to determine whether a text is scientific or not is to look at the context of the text and who is behind the text.
- Is the article published in an scientific journal which you know of since before?
- If you do not know the journal, is the publisher or organisation behind the journal known to publish scientific journals or to produce research? For example the Human IT, journal mentioned in the earlier post, is published by University of Borås. Another example is British Educational Research Journal which is associated with the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and published by Taylor & Francis which also publishes other scientific journals. Other well-known international publishers are Elsevier, Springer, Blackwell, Routledge and a number of publishers connected with universities, University Press – although these are not necessarlily connected to a university anymore.
- The above is valid for monographs and anthologies aswell.
- When it comes to conferences a bit more detective work is needed but there are some conferences which are connected to an organisation, e.g. IEEE or ACM.
- Some databases demand that journals and conference papers must have gone through peer review, e.g. Web of Science. If you are unsure you can check whether your journal is included there. Just remember, your journal is not automatically non-scientific just because the journal is not included in WoS-list.
So far the texts accepted as scientific in higher education are those which have been peer reviewed by external reviewers and the peer review usually takes place just before publishing. As the world of publishing is changing many researchers are using other channels to test their results and reasoning, such as blogs or publishing preprints (paper accepted for publishing but published yet) in open repositories such as arXiv.org. These texts are not necessarily considered as scientific although many of them are, especially those in arXiv.org. Depending on how the publishing world changes this might come to change.
//Helena Francke, lector at BHS
Blog posts are translated from Swedish by Pieta Eklund.