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Varieties of the digital: variants of digitalisation in experimental and ML-based research practices 
Stefan Böschen (Human Technology Center, RWTH Aachen University)
Gabriele Gramelsberger
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel is about dynamics of digitalization of research practices and the consequences for cultures of research. It explores tendencies of unification and creating varieties via digitalization processes. For being able to do so, a combined philosophical-sociological STS view is seen as decisive.

Long Abstract:

Processes of digitalization are typically analyzed as processes of socio-technical unification through digital technologies. In this way, to name but a few, model formations, power relations, infrastructural formations have been examined and the technical and methodological as well as cultural and social forces at work in the process have been identified and modelled. At the same time, there are indications that processes of digitalization can sometimes turn out more fragmented than expected. This is particularly evident in the context of the digitalization of research practices in different research cultures. The initial assumption of this panel is that this disunity is due to the experimental appropriation and formation of digital technologies in different research cultures. Moreover, there is a key challenge for STS that there is as yet no interdisciplinary repertoire of science studies to describe such processes with sufficient depth. This is because a philosophical perspective is needed to specifically characterize digitality and at the same time a sociological perspective on the socio-technical formation processes.

Against this background, the panel sets itself the task of looking at different forms of experimental testing and appropriation of digital technologies in the realm of different forms of research and research-based policy advice and discussing the following questions:

a) What forms of digitalization can be observed in different knowledge cultures?

b) What influence do overarching digital infrastructures of research have on the forms of digitalization in different knowledge cultures?

c) What conceptual-methodological repertoire is necessary to make such processes of digitalization of research practices of epistemic cultures more investigable?

d) How does the diversity of machine learning (ML) architectures increase the digital diversity in research cultures?

Accepted papers: