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“Scientific control” in mathematical reviewing and German-U.S.-American relations between the two World Wars. (English) Zbl 0806.01032
The author discusses the function of “control” exercised by scientific reviewing, juxtaposed to its other more obvious functions of “objectivity” and “modernity”; taking as a case study mathematical reviewing and German-American scientific relations between the two World Wars. This is an especially appropriate period since the first call for an American mathematical abstracting journal occurs around 1920, but the first issue of Mathematical Reviews appeared in 1940. By control the author means the function of reviewing in serving the interests of the implicit disciplinary power structures as well as social power structures. In an engaging paper the author traces vicissitudes in the relationship between German and American mathematicians over issues of reviewing, from some early American anxiety about German dominance of reviewing, through the various dissatisfactions with the Jahrbuch für Mathematik, the varying (and never uniform) American opinion on the utility of an American journal, the founding of the Zentralblatt für Mathematik, general American satisfaction with it, and the founding of Mathematical Reviews partially in response to the Nazi “Gleichschaltung” of the German reviewing journals. Nationalist reverberations in the structure of reviewing after World War II (even recently) are also briefly mentioned.

MSC:
01A80 Sociology (and profession) of mathematics
01A74 History of mathematics at institutions and academies (non-university)
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
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