The Hierarchy of the Sciences?

  title={The Hierarchy of the Sciences?},
  author={Stephen Cole},
  journal={American Journal of Sociology},
  pages={111 - 139}
  • S. Cole
  • Published 1 July 1983
  • Education
  • American Journal of Sociology
For 200 years it has been assumed that the sciences are arranged in a hierarchy, with developed natural sciences like physics at the top and social sciences like sociology at the bottom. Sciences at the top of the hierarchy presumably display higher levels of consensus and more rapid rates of advancement than those at the bottom. A distinction is made between two classes of knowledge: the core, or fully evaluated and universally accepted ideas which serve as the starting points for graduate… 
Explorer Bibliometric Evidence for a Hierarchy of the
The hypothesis of a Hierarchy of the Sciences, first formulated in the 19 century, predicts that, moving from simple and general phenomena (e.g. particle dynamics) to complex and particular (e.g.
Do Journal Rejection Rates Index Consensus
Hargens argues that the lower rejection rate in natural sciences journals is evidence that these fields have more cognitive consensus, and believes that journal rejection rates are a better indicator of field differences in cognitive consensus than CR (defined formally below), the extent to which independent evaluators of a scientific product like a journal article or a research proposal reach the same conclusion.
Scientific Graphs and the Hierarchy of the Sciences:
Studies comparing the cognitive status of the sciences have long sought to identify the distinguishing features of `hard' and `soft' science. Attempts by philosophers of science to ground such
Why the social sciences won't become high-consensus, rapid-discovery science
A research front of rapid discovery, leaving a trail of cognitive consensus behind it, is characteristic of natural sciences since about the 17th century in Europe. The basis of this high-consensus,
Investigating disagreement in the scientific literature
There is considerable heterogeneity across the meso-level fields, revealing the importance of local disciplinary cultures and the epistemic characteristics of disagreement and how methodological artifacts can confound analyses of scientific texts.
Redefining Science: The Impact of Complexity on Theory Development in Social and Behavioral Research
  • D. Sanbonmatsu, W. Johnston
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2019
It is argued that the variability in the theoretical attainments of disciplines is due primarily to differences in the complexity of the topics studied, and the impossibility of developing exacting theories of complex phenomena suggests that the authors need to redefine their conceptions of “good” and “bad” theories and ‘real’ and ”fake” science.
Search Not for the Core in the Knowledge Frontier: A Reply to Schweingruber
Teaching Sociology, Vol. 33, 2005 (January:90-94) 90 IN HIS COMMENT on our paper, David Schweingruber argues that introductory textbooks do not adequately reflect the disciplinary core because the
The Superiority of Economists
In this essay, we analyze the dominant position of economics within the network of the social sciences in the United States. We begin by documenting the relative insularity of economics, using
All That Is Solid
This article is the first comparative ethnography of a natural science (molecular biology) and a social science (psychology) and it highlights important differences between the fields, which suggests an alternative conception of the natural/social divide.


The hard sciences and the soft: some sociological observations.
  • N. Storer
  • Education
    Bulletin of the Medical Library Association
  • 1967
The paper focuses on the implications of the terms "hard" and "soft" as they are used to characterize different branches of science; this is one approach to understanding some of the relations
Age and Scientific Performance
  • S. Cole
  • Geology
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1979
The long-standing belief that age is negatively associated with scientific productivity and creativity is shown to be based upon incorrect analysis of data. Analysis of data from a cross-section of
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted,
Growth and Decay Curves in Scientific Citations
In a rapidly advancing scientific discipline, new contributions will supersede older ones. This selection in favor of recent literature should be observable in the distribution of footnote citations
Chance and consensus in peer review.
An experiment in which 150 proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation were evaluated independently by a new set of reviewers indicates that getting a research grant depends to a
The Ortega Hypothesis
The data allow the view stated by Ortega, Florey, and others that large numbers of average scientists contribute substantially to the advance of science through their research to be questioned.
Institutionalization Patterns of Evaluation in Science." Pp
  • 1973
Public knowledge
Chance and Consensus
  • 1981