Recently, I had an interdisciplinary discussion with some friends about Industry 4.0, internet of things,...which brought up the question, which kind of academic revolutions apart from industrial revolutions have happened so far. Unfortunately, we are all working in STEM and not humanities and are no experts in philsophy of science or sociology.

Google scholar reveals that the term "academic revolution" exists and is broadly used in scientific literature. But, even on wikipedia, I could not find a good overview of the timeline and kind of academic revolutions that happened so far or are thought of by scientists in humanities.

Intuitively and discussed in our group were:

  • Gutenberg printing press invention

  • International postal service

  • ...

  • Internet

  • ...

  • Artificial intelligence/"singularity" (by Ray Kurzweil)

  • ...

I hope there are also some non-STEM users and scientists here who can possibly shed some light on this or link a good review article or website.

Personally I'm more interested in the methodological and scientific indication of an academic revolution (e.g. strong increase in exchange of scientists between countries and disciplinaries, interdisciplinary referencing, number of research articles, open science, peer review changes etc...). Some of those phenomenological academic discruptions can probably be quite well recognized by bibliometric analysis as in a recent question here about "global number of publications over time". But my short googling left it unclear to me, if all of above bullet points are actually agreed on as single academic revolutions by the research community. Also the changing interdependency of universities - industry - government seems to play a bigger role in identifying and arguing for an academic revolution. But apart from technological disruptions, of course also financial disruptions of the funding of academia is an important factor as well as the historical cultural disruptions like the french revolution or the cold war. In the end I would like to be able to extrapolate from a good answer on this question and the past revolutions, which future academic revolutions are to come or if artifical intelligence is the next and last one thought of.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looking at "academic revolution" hits on Google Scholar I am not sure that there is any coherent meaning to this expression that accords with your examples, rather than just different authors throwing those two words together for different purposes. Unlike with scientific or technological revolutions, there seems to be no such term. It might help explaining what you want "academic revolution" to mean beyond examples. "Academic disruptions" caused by wars, political, economic, or cultural upheavals, etc., are contingent, and do not, by themselves, make for an interesting concept. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Mar 27 '19 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold The term "academic revolution" seems common to me, but I'm no social scientist, but physicist. There is also a lot of philosophy of sciene about social processes in academia (Popper, Kuhn wrote about it). It would be very weird to me, if academia itself is not a research object in the social sciences and how it has transformed. It's obvious internet and AI have and will drastically change the academic system. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '19 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Those are more rhetorical flourishes than uses of a term. But I think you are onto something, your examples are not of random funding disruptions, but of something structurally crucial changing. It seems closest to technological revolution, but of a particular kind, that transforms specifically academic features. I am not sure that "academic revolution" is the right keyword to find something useful though. And perhaps Philosophy SE might be a more promising venue to ask. Maybe look at Sociology of scientific knowledge $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Mar 27 '19 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold thanks for pointing to philosophy.se $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '19 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ @HermannGruber No, it's about the academic system (peer review, explosion of publications, AI etc...). For instance one academic revolution described is the "triple-helix" of universitiies-industry-government in the 21th century $\endgroup$ Mar 28 '19 at 20:48

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