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How well do 'facts travel': editorial

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It is often assumed that a fact is a fact is a fact, yet those who work across disciplinary boundaries are well aware that the life of a fact is not so simple. Even everyday experience suggests that, like gossip, facts that travel rarely remain stable. This special issue comprises four papers analysing how well “facts” travel between and within social contexts, and why evidence considered acceptable in one context retains or loses its status in another. Each paper focuses on a different type of vehicle for the travel of facts: Albane Forestier discusses infrastructure, such as institutions helping commercial information to spread across the world; Julia Mensink studies the role of common measures in disseminating facts about poverty; Aashish Velkar considers the standards used to communicate facts about grain quality; and finally, Ashley Millar analyses the recycling of ideas that characterised European accounts of Chinese political economy in the eighteenth century.

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