evoText: Digital Humanities Meets Evolutionary Biology
Researchers in science studies face a difficult conundrum. For the last three centuries, the most important outlet for the dissemination of scientific results has been the journal. Yet the sheer bulk of such literature – 6.5 million articles in the JSTOR database alone – makes it profoundly challenging to investigate, particularly if one wants to support general claims about its content. The computational tools of the digital humanities offer us one way out of this tangle. I present here the evoText project, software designed to perform complex searches and analyses of the corpus of journal literature in the evolutionary sciences – biology, anthropology, evolutionary psychology, human development, etc. A live iPad demonstration is available, and sample results looking at the development of evolutionary theory in the first 80 years of the journal Nature (1870–1950) are provided.