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.

New PASSIM article! “Linking science to technology: the patent paper citation and the rise of patentometrics in the 1980s”

Earlier this week Björn Hammarfelt’s first paper in the PASSIM-project was published in Journal of Documention. The article titled “Linking science to technology: the patent paper citation and the rise of patentometrics in the 1980s” can be described as a conceptual history of the patent paper citation.The study analyses how a further interest for patents as scientific documents from several domains, including research policy, bibliometrics and the sociology of science was evident during the 1980s. In many ways the patent was treated as just another document containing scientific information, and the patent citation was viewed as readily available indicator for answering key questions in contemporarydeliberations on the role of scientific research in relation to technological development. In representing these links, patents, and patent citations, became a common point of reference which allowed for measurement and comparison of entities that otherwise appear as separate and non-calculable. The paper concludes by arguing for a broader more reflexive understanding of references in patents, including their social, legal and rhetorical function.

The full text can be accessed here:


“How Patents Became Documents, or Dreaming of Technoscientific Order, 1895-1937”

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén’s first article in the PASSIM-project: “How Patents Became Documents, or Dreaming of Technoscientific Order, 1895-1937” is now published in Journal of Documentation (2019) Vol 75 Issue 3, pp 577-592,. DOI:

In it, and based on Paul Otlet’s 1937 image of the mountain range of documents to the left (where patents are one among seven types of informational inclines), she argues:

“Patents are indistinguishable from the
structures of the information age; indeed, they have helped build these structures in the first
place, producing their own administrative and expertise communities, straddling the
national and the international, becoming dependent on systems of classification, sorting and
ordering, as indeed, acting every bit as the social texts that they are.
Simply put, more research is warranted on the embeddedness – historical as well as
contemporary – of patents in informational systems. Such embeddedness has been
constitutive of the patent system for more than a century but still remains




Laboratorium Mundaneum: Powerhouse of Documentation. [December 28, 1937] (Mons, Mundaneum EUM 8694©)