The evolution of scientific journal articles in the periphery : a case study and analysis of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology from 1928 to 2008
Date of Issue2012
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
In order to analyse the development of a scientific journal in the academic periphery, a case study of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology (RBZ), published in Singapore 1928-2008, was conducted. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was deployed. Quantitatively, statistics on various aspects of journal articles in RBZ were collected and analysed. Qualitatively, schematic structures of journal articles in the RBZ were coded and documented via Swales's move analysis. It was found that the development of the RBZ could be divided into three stages: a rudimentary period, transitional period and current period. Various factors that shaped the evolution of RBZ for the past 80 years are discussed, including the social and political context of Singapore, changes in scientific perspectives, the efforts of editors, information organization and retrieval, as well as changing scientific communities. It is argued that a longitudinal study of journal articles in the academic periphery enhances our understanding of: (1) the adaptive nature of knowledge production, organization, use and retrieval in various knowledge domains; (2) the importance of understanding the interplay between social factors in the scientific communication process; and (3) the increasing demand for the provision of efficient and effective information systems to meet the pressing need of information organization and retrieval.
Journal of information science