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What? A new “just the facts” journal in social sciences?

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Focusing on media. Wow. They should try that in biology too. No Darwinism. Just facts.

Okay but now, re the new journal

How much should researchers invest in answering what versus why and how? Will your work be better if it investigates a hypothesis that might explain a phenomenon? Or would it be more useful to make your goal simply to describe that phenomenon?

In the field of media research, those on Team Describe got a valuable new ally today: a new publication called the Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media. Its co-founders are Princeton’s Andy Guess, the University of Zurich’s Eszter Hargittai, and Penn State’s Kevin Munger, all of whom work on issues in and around journalism.

Joshua Benton, “No explaining allowed! A new journal promises just-the-facts description, not theory or causality” at Nieman Labs (August 26, 2021)

For example, from the guidelines for the new Journal of Quantitative Description, some stuff they don’t like:

2. Lack of clear standards for substantive importance. The topics that are deemed important too often reflect path dependence, the biases of established scholars and institutions, approved theoretical frameworks from the dominant canon, and the focus of media interest. The whiplash of the past few years of digital media research, the attention paid first to “echo chambers,” then to “fake news,” now to “radicalization,’ is inimical to the accumulation of knowledge. All of these topics are worth studying, but we need a more stable metric for “topical importance” than media attention.

Now, bunnies, one SERIOUS problem with all this is an end to the Sokal hoaxes that have made the social sciences so entertaining in recent years.

On the other hand, maybe they need someone or other attending to real stuff now and then.

Hat tip: Pos-darwinista

2 Replies to “What? A new “just the facts” journal in social sciences?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    I like it. This represents a return to pre-1946 sociology, which was purely descriptive.

    Also, as a project this looks more effectual than the alternative to Wikipedia, which has been discussing committees to form boards to form mission statements for a year, without actually publishing or writing any content.

    This journal has a simple mission statement, and it has started with several REAL articles so readers can check the statement, and so authors can see what’s expected.

  2. 2

    You cannot distinghuish facts from opinions, without creationism. And as they are not likely to support creationism they will just offer facts like

    “as natural selection works by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection” C. Darwin, Origin of Species

    Creationist conceptual scheme:
    1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / subjective / opinion
    2. Creation / chosen / material / objective / fact

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