Principal Investigator(s): Christopher M. Kelty
Scientific newsletters, especially in biology, flourished in the twentieth century. They are virtually unstudied, but can tell us a great deal about the simultaneous development of scientific communities or collectives and the concepts, techniques, collections, materials and maps they produce. This project explores scientific newsletters as a ‘model organism’ on which to study the moral economy of science. A key case is the Drosophila Information Service and how such newsletters constitute a closed community at the same time that they demand the unrestricted sharing of organisms, techniques, results and other information within the community. The project also compares aspects of newsletters with the contemporary claims about ‘open science’ in the case of synthetic biology, and speculates about the relationship of the current political economy of intellectual property to the moral economies present in newsletters.