Neu-Whitrow Prize Announcement 2017

Deadline extended 2 days: date for application is Monday, April 17, 2017.

The Commission on Bibliography and Documentation (CBD) of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science/Division of History of Science and Technology  (IUHPS/DHST) established in 2013 a prize to be awarded for the most innovative research tool for managing, documenting and analyzing sources in the history of science and technology.

The prize will be offered again in 2017. The entries will be judged on their content, usability, and precision. They can be either printed or digital. The deadline for submission is April 17, 2017. Information about the prize can be found below.

The inauguration of the prize commemorated the centenary of the Isis Bibliography of History of Science, which was started in 1913 by George Sarton. After Sarton, two bibliographers, John Neu at the University of Wisconsin, and Magda Whitrow at Imperial College, London, carried on Sarton’s legacy. This prize recognizes the efforts of those two bibliographers for the work that they did to support history of science scholarship around the world.

The Neu-Whitrow Prize will be awarded to a scholar of history of science and technology. The primary goal is to encourage the development of innovative research tools which includes bibliographies, archival finding aids and other scholarly resource discovery tools.

The prize is administered by CBD/IUHPS/DHST and is awarded every four years, during the International Congress of History of Science and Technology.

Contact the President of the Commission on Bibliography and Documentation if you have questions: Birute Railiene (


We welcome submissions by archivists, librarians, undergraduate and graduate students, independent scholars, professional teachers and researchers.


A submission must be a complete bibliography, archival finding aid or similar scholarly discovery tool that will be of use to scholars doing research in the field of history of science or a related discipline. It can be either a print or digital entity or both. Innovative digital tools that enable scholarly discovery of resources are encouraged.

Although the items described may be in any language, the descriptive notes must include English descriptions. In other words, all individual records or citations must have English descriptive matter if they are not in English. Titles and other citation references need not be translated.

The work submitted for consideration must have been completed between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2017.


  1. A completed entry form, which includes contact information, a short biographical statement and an abstract of the submission. (Currently unavailable.)
  2. A descriptive essay of 2000 to 3000 words in English.
  3. The submission, a PDF of the entry or a link to it.


The descriptive essay must explain the purpose and nature of the work. It must answer the question: What is its purpose? Why is it important? Who will benefit? Are there any other relevant discovery tools or resources available of a similar sort and if so, how is this different?


Every four years, the CBD will form a panel of three experts to judge the entries. One of the three judges will be selected to chair the committee. Any member of the CBD governing board or advisory board who is closely associated with one or more proposals for the prize is not eligible for the judging panel. The entry will be judged on three criteria: content, usability, and precision.

Content: The overall tool must be adequately described and each individual resource must also be appropriately documented. Content will be judged on its overall coherence and the adequacy of descriptions and documentation. The tool must be produced within the period of 2012-2017.

Usability: The organization and/or indexes must make the entries easy to navigate and understand. Usability will be judged on how clearly the scope and limitations are presented, on how easy it is to locate specific items, and on how well items are cross-referenced.

Precision: The tool must incorporate appropriate international standards, and its format must be explained in the accompanying descriptive essay. Precision will be judged on how well the creator has followed the chosen format. Because the Prize encourages innovation, it is possible to depart from standard formats where necessary, but such changes need to be justified in the descriptive essay.


April 15, 2017 is the deadline for submissions. May 15, 2017 is the selection of the winner, who is then informed of his/her win.


The winner receives a prize of US$500 and a certificate. The winner will also be invited to be a member of the Advisory Board of the World History of Science Online (WHSO).


Applicants must email a completed entry to the President of the Commission on Bibliography and Documentation Birute Railiene ( by April 15, 2017.


Jennifer Rampling (2013)