Science and the Dissemination of Knowledge

I am a huge proponent of sharing scientific knowledge.  Heck, if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have this blog (or Rantin’ and Rovin’).  It saddens me how many scientific journals require subscriptions in order to view the articles they publish or how many online databases charge roughly £30 just to gain access to one article for a single week.

The way I see it, the goal of archaeology is to understand the past as best we can. Collaboration and sharing information is the best way to achieve that goal. Thus, doing anything to inhibit the sharing of information ultimately impedes our progress towards understanding the past. Rather than withholding data or information in order to keep a sure dataset for ourselves, we should share what we have and what we know with the wider scientific community and the public.  There will always be more questions to answer, more work to do.

Science is science because anyone can conduct the same study and replicate the results.  That’s what the scientific method is.  If we don’t make our data available to other scientists, then we are not actively engaging in perhaps the most crucial part of the scientific process: replication.

So to those who wonder why I have a blog or why I post all my notes and processes here for all to see, I respond with a question: why not? Why shouldn’t I share my findings with as many people as I can?


About Heather Christie

Heather is an archaeologist, photographer, and writer whose research focuses on beads and bead trade, particularly in a maritime sense. She's currently working working on a PhD in Digital Design (focusing on heritage visualisation) at the Glasgow School of Art.
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