Iiris Aaltio


 In this paper we discuss the meaning of newness in research in the times when new paradigms of science are emerging and the sciences have become more and more fragmentary. In the positivistic and monolithic era of social science, before Kuhn and year 1966, methodologies and methods interpreting newness were simpler. In this paper it is argued the newness is more and more in the text itself, and that the dynamics of texts comes from interrelations between the subject of the text (the researcher self) and the object of it (the research audience). Scientific knowledge becomes new when it is substantiated and connected to the prior one Writing the research reports is political by nature but so is also its reading. While citation index makes researchers powerful, in gaining decisions whom to refer the colleagues make political choices that are bound to some political contexts they live and career. Building a theoretical frame is not a pure and objectivistic thing but many ways a path of choices that build the research field. Behind is a lot of social capital of the academia and at the same time the text shows and even builds it. Again, it is less and less the empirical facts itself that contributes to newness, but the ways to conceptualize and contextualize empirically based knowledge. In the times when subjectivity is grown into science and pure empirical data does not work in the same way it used to be, becoming a researcher with the right to access science text publishing is not only professional but more and more narrative by nature. The credibility and trust is of a lot of worth at the society of today, not least in academia. Personality, biography and social context of a researcher are perhaps becoming more important than it used to be and that makes the issue that the impact of the researcher on has grown. Gatekeepers of science and administrational processes that they guide form criteria according to which researchers are selected and promoted further. That way individual background issues like gender and ethnicity may either grow or diminish the credibility of the individual researcher and have a lot of impact on the fact on who passes the gate of becoming a knowledge holder in the future. In the paper we also argue that subjectivity is more and more compensated by inter-subjectivity in writing because of joint texts. In gate-keeping about who enters the knowledge holder-limit this states as well.

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