From Little Science to Big Science
Were Women and Non-Elites Left Out?
In Little Science, Big Science (1963), Derek J. de Solla Price undertook a sociology of science that dealt with the growth and changing shape of scientific publishing and the social organization of science. The focus of Price’s work was on the long-term, gradual shift from “little science,” with the solo scientist, small laboratory, and minimal research funds, to “big science,” with collaborative research teams, large-scale research hardware, extensive funding, and corporate-political suitors of scientists. We extend Price’s focus on scientific publications by moving beyond his analysis of practices in physics and chemistry to examine a social science; namely, sociology. Specifically, we analyze 3,000 articles in four long-standing sociology journals over the fifty-year period from 1960-2010 to determine the gender of authors, the prestige of authors’ departments, length of articles, number of references, sources of data for studies, and patterns of funding for research. We find that sociology is not immune from the shift from “little science” to “big science.”