In this article an epistemological interpretation of the role of subject literature in scholarly communication shall be proposed. Such an interpretation will focus on the epistemological dimension of communicating knowledge through literature and how this is achieved through discursive and rhetorical means. It will be argued that library and information science (LIS) theory on scholarly communication can be supplemented and strengthened by this interpretation. By establishing a social epistemology of subject literature the article contributes with a sketch of a coherent theory of scholarly literature explaining the epistemological and communicative division of labor between the various types of subject literature. Such a theory is in line with the current revival of social epistemology in LIS. The article is structured into three main sections. The first section will outline an epistemological position that pays particular attention to knowledge acquired through social interaction in general, and through interaction with written texts in particular. The works of the later Wittgenstein and Ludwik Fleck will be used as the theoretical frameworks. Having established this epistemological framework, the second section will outline what is considered to be the main types of subject literature, with emphasis on their discursive and rhetorical functions in scholarly communication. The third section will synthesize the two other sections into a sketch of a theory that will be labeled the social epistemology of subject literature and point to some implications for LIS research of this theory.
Andersen, J. (2002), "The role of subject literature in scholarly communication: An interpretation based on social epistemology", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 58 No. 4, pp. 463-481. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220410210431145Download as .RIS
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