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Ghosts, brands, and influencers: Emergent trends in scientific authorship.


This essay is about the unique role of proper nouns at the intersection of knowledge and property, both tangible and intangible. Nouns are central to any form of property and credit, from a person's name listed on a property deed or copyright registration, to the name of an artist to whom a work is attributed, or that of a scientist after whom a discovery or theory is named. And names can also be found on the other end of the property spectrum, not as the names of authors and owners but as objects of property, as in the case of brand names. Here I trace some of the functions of these names as they move across different scenarios of knowledge-making and property-making, focusing on some of the effects those trajectories are having in the contemporary technosciences as they bring together the function of the author and that of the brand.

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