Dimensions of trust in scholarly communication : problematizing peer review in the aftermath of John Bohannon’s ‘Sting’ in Science

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study investigates online material published in reaction to a Science magazine report showing the absence of peer-review and editorial processes in a set of fee-charging open access journals in Biology. Quantitative and qualitative textual analyses are combined to map conceptual relations in these reactions; and to explore how understandings of scholarly communication and publishing relate to specific conceptualisations of science and of the hedging of scientific knowledge. A discussion of the connection of trust and scientific knowledge and of the role of peer-review for establishing and communicating this connection provides for the theoretical and topical framing. Special attention is paid to the pervasiveness of digital technologies in formal scholarly communication processes. Three dimensions of trust are traced in the material analysed: (1) trust through personal experience and informal knowledge, (2) trust through organised, internal control, (3) trust through form. The article concludes by discussing how certain understandings of the conditions for trust in science are challenged by perceptions of possibilities for deceit in digital environments.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Studies


  • Open Access journals, Peer review, Trust issues, John Bohannon’s “Sting” in Science Magazine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-467
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb
Publication categoryResearch

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