Forschungskolloquium zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Visibility of GDR Scientists (1970-1990): How to Find the Average Scientist Using Bibliometrics and in the Archive

16:15 - 17:45 Uhr
Veranstaltet von
Friedrich Steinle
Vortragende Person(en)
Jonathan C. Bauer (TU Berlin)

A general problem both in History and Sociology of Science is finding and identifying individual members of larger groups of scientists as protagonists of the common, not the exceptional experience. Finding their names and accessing their personal archive files is especially difficult when working on pre-internet and non-digitized periods like the 1950s to 1990s, or on geographic and scientific areas with poor database coverage. Our project deals with both: we need to find scientists active between 1970 to 1990 in the GDR as protagonists and participants in interviews.

Scientific research in the GDR was only partially embedded in international communities. This was due to its specific institutional settings, material shortages and increasing loyalty expectations within the GDR, as well as global cross-border transfer restrictions. Together with a drastically changed East German science institutions after 1989, this affected and created conditions for scientists’ inclusion (the How being our overall question). It also affects their visibility to present day scholars.

In this talk I, will discuss some of the strategies for finding “rank-and-file” mathematicians and molecular biologists such as locating university registries or mining community-built degree databases. I will also compare the challenges posed by different publishing practices and levels of visibility from the professor to the PhD candidate.


Wegen der weiterhin bestehenden Einschränkungen wird das Kolloquium im Online-Format stattfinden. Für Details und aktuelle Informationen siehe