Daniel Scott Smith

I'm a postdoc at Stanford

I currently work in Dan McFarland's Knowledge Creation Lab using large corpora of texts and computational techniques to study scientific judgement and argumentation, the diffusion of new ideas, and bias in peer review.

A set of foundational questions underpins all my intellectual work: How does culture shape science? How does science shape culture? And how has the dynamic between the two spurred change in society? To tackle these questions, I analyze historical and contemporary data using an array of computational and quantitative methods, including natural language processing techniques, network analysis, and statistical modeling. I pursue this research in two lines of inquiry:

Plurality & power in science & education

I look at how cultural dynamics and plurality shape scientific and educational processes. Part of this work shows how knowledge and research can get gendered, and how this, in turn, leads to differences in outcomes among students and scientists. Another part of this work looks at the strategies that make peer review fairer at contributing better science. A last thread of this work looks how changing cultural norms are associated with the empowerment of more diverse scientists, and how diverse scientists, in turn, contribute more diverse, fuller science. 

Science, culture & the state

In my historical work, I investigate how the nascent social sciences during the nineteenth century instigated momentous social and political change. I show how the development of new social theories — which were statist and stadial — and their pairing with new kinds of social data was a veritable transnational epistemic movement. I study how this movement directly influenced the ascendance of state schooling and the expansion of states during the nineteenth century, in part resulting in what we now take for granted as national education and the modern nation-state.