Since some films like 2001: A space Odissey (1968) or Jurassic Park (1993) have been a huge success in audiences, the use of those films in scientific papers has been increased accordingly. Science Fiction (SF) films try to convince us that a certain type of technology, concept, or scientific worldview is possible. These films are used for multiple aims, for example educative or advertising purposes (Kirby, 2010; Weingart, Muhl, & Pansegrau, 2003). However, these functions have been scarcely studied and much less systematized. Therefore, in this paper we propose to quantify and analyze the “patterns of use” of SF films in scientific journals indexed in international databases. Firstly, we selected twenty films between 1902 and 2011 from recognized sources, such as SF movies list of the University of Michigan, the best SF films from the American Film Institute and movies taken from the history of the Hugo awards, among others. Secondly, films selected were detected in the scientific literature using the ISI Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) database. Through quantitative methodologies, we studied the documental types, the journals of publication and the adscription disciplines, among others criteria. By studying the content of the papers we have established seven categories referring to the “patterns of use”. The most important were a) public understanding of science/public engagement, b) the use of film as example of processes, c) as an educational tool, or d) as an argument for or against science. To analyze “patterns of use” we performed a detailed study of 300 papers where selected films were found, to observe and categorize the specific ways they are used. We found that more than half of the publications belong to the documental type “research articles”. While most of the texts are in subject areas related to film, communication and such technologies, there is a substantial amount of documents related to other scientific fields as Social Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Engineering. In 70% of cases, the mention of the film takes place in the title, indicating that, even in texts that do not belong to areas of communication, there is a significant number of documents whose main topic is at least one of the selected films. Bib. Kirby, D. A. (2010). The Future is Now. SSS, 40(1), 41–70. Weingart, P., Muhl, C., & Pansegrau, P. (2003). Of Power Maniacs and Unethical Geniuses. PUS (12), 279–287.

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Which movies and what for?
Analysis of “patterns of use” of the science fiction films in scientific journals

Luciano Levin   Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Since some films like 2001: A space Odissey (1968) or Jurassic Park (1993) have been a huge success in audiences, the use of those films in scientific papers has been increased accordingly. Science Fiction (SF) films try to convince us that a certain type of technology, concept, or scientific worldview is possible. These films are used for multiple aims, for example educative or advertising purposes (Kirby, 2010; Weingart, Muhl, & Pansegrau, 2003). However, these functions have been scarcely studied and much less systematized. Therefore, in this paper we propose to quantify and analyze the “patterns of use” of SF films in scientific journals indexed in international databases. Firstly, we selected twenty films between 1902 and 2011 from recognized sources, such as SF movies list of the University of Michigan, the best SF films from the American Film Institute and movies taken from the history of the Hugo awards, among others. Secondly, films selected were detected in the scientific literature using the ISI Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) database. Through quantitative methodologies, we studied the documental types, the journals of publication and the adscription disciplines, among others criteria. By studying the content of the papers we have established seven categories referring to the “patterns of use”. The most important were a) public understanding of science/public engagement, b) the use of film as example of processes, c) as an educational tool, or d) as an argument for or against science. To analyze “patterns of use” we performed a detailed study of 300 papers where selected films were found, to observe and categorize the specific ways they are used. We found that more than half of the publications belong to the documental type “research articles”. While most of the texts are in subject areas related to film, communication and such technologies, there is a substantial amount of documents related to other scientific fields as Social Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Engineering. In 70% of cases, the mention of the film takes place in the title, indicating that, even in texts that do not belong to areas of communication, there is a significant number of documents whose main topic is at least one of the selected films. Bib. Kirby, D. A. (2010). The Future is Now. SSS, 40(1), 41–70. Weingart, P., Muhl, C., & Pansegrau, P. (2003). Of Power Maniacs and Unethical Geniuses. PUS (12), 279–287.

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