The Varied Voices of Science

Prof. Cassidy Rose SugimotoPicture in your mind a research laboratory. The researchers working there may wear the same white coats, and their faces may be obscured behind safety glasses and gauze masks, but they are, naturally, individual human beings –newly-minted Ph.D.s and much-respected Nobel laureates; men and women who speak with distinct voices and who hold a wide variety of views and aspirations.

At Indiana University Bloomington, Prof. Cassidy Sugimoto is a researcher of those researchers. She hears their voices and asks, “Who has a voice in science?” and “What does it matter who is speaking?” In October, she delivered the annual Lucile Kelling Henderson lecture at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science, looking at disparity and disruption in scholarly communication.

“The characteristics of (any) speaker frame notions of credibility and authority; they frame whom we trust and how much we trust what they are saying,” Prof. Sugimoto tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “In science, this is also the case. Certain voices are heard and valued above others.”

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