PASSIMer of the month (Björn)

In my work I am interested in how things are valued, measured and categorized. In recent years I have primarily been focused on the evaluation of academic outputs like papers and patents. In disciplinary terms, my research can be situated at the intersection of information studies and sociology of science with a focus on scholarly communication and bibliometrics.

Currently, I work as an associate professor in Library and Information Science at the University of Borås where I act as a leader for a research group on Knowledge Infrastructures. Prior to this I spent three years as a postdoc at Leiden University and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS). My PhD was awarded at Uppsala University for a thesis on how bibliometrics and citation analysis can be used for mapping and evaluating the humanities. It was also at Uppsala where I first got to know Eva Hemmungs Wirtén and we have cooperated in various project since. Hence, I had no doubts when Eva asked me to join PASSIM (although I knew very little about patents). Through my involvement in PASSIM I have learned a lot about patents, but equally important the project has been a great opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange in a colloquial and friendly atmosphere. Therefore, I really hope that the PASSIM-team can meet – outside Zoom – soon again, and I really look forward to our planned workshops on Patents as Capital, and Patents in War and Peace. Considering my own work, I will continue to study patents and their role as science indicators – a first paper was published earlier this year  – and the role of patents in the scientific information industry. But first some long-awaited vacation, which I will spend with my family (its latest addition being a ragdoll kitten) in the garden, in the woods of Småland, and by a lake or the sea. Certainly, I will also find time to watch a “few” games of football from the European Championship.



For more on patents in the scientific information industry (or possibly football outrage?) follow Björn on twitter.

New PASSIM article: “India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library and the Politics of Patent Classifications” by Martin Fredriksson


Martin Fredriksson is associate professor at the unit for Culture and Society Linköping University and a member of the PASSIM project team. In this recent article Martin analyses India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) as a potential intervention in the administration of patent law.

Martin’s article concludes that the major database on the one hand bridges the gap between the main branches of Indian traditional medicine and the formal knowledge system of International Patent Classifications. Furthermore, it has also inspired revisions of the International Patent Classification system, which makes it better adapted to incorporate traditional medical knowledge. On the other hand, critical research on traditional knowledge documentation argues that traditional knowledge databases, like the TKDL, can decontextualize the knowledge they catalogue and dispossess its original owners. The TKDL, however, also fits into a national, Indian agenda of documenting and modernizing traditional medicine that predates the formation of the TKDL by several decades and challenges the dichotomy between traditional and scientific knowledge systems that originally motivated the formation of the TKDL.

You can read more about Martin’s work in PASSIM on the blog and the article is available in Law and Critique.


From left to right: José Bellido, Johanna Dahlin, Martin Fredriksson and Björn Hammarfelt.