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Communication, engineering, and engineers: A PSYCHOM '72 paper

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1 Author(s)
Eugene Garfield ; Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106

THE EXISTENCE and makeup of this group seems to challenge a statement made recently by Derek de Solla Price. As many of you may know, Derek Price is Avalon Professor of the History of Science at Yale, and he has done considerable work in the how and why of scientific communication, especially as regards the literature. After a preliminary analysis of the use of scientific and technical journals, Price concluded that scientists write but don't read, while engineers read but don't write. That's an oversimplification, no doubt, but I suspect there may be more than a mere grain of truth in it. If there is, I'm obviously left with the problem of determining what an IEEE “Group on Professional Communication” is all about. One way of doing that was to try and discover what engineering journals are all about Setting out to do that, I realized that I'd have to first come to some acceptable definition of “engineer.” That's where I got stuck. Perhaps my difficulty with that definition has its roots in some of the same problems which suggested to the IEEE that a two-day conference on the “Psychology of Technical Communications” might be a good and useful thing.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication  (Volume:PC-15 ,  Issue: 2 )