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P396


Probing openness in biomedical platforms: global health meets Open Science 
Convenors:
Sonja Van Wichelen (University of Sydney)
Ann Kelly (King's College London)
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Chair:
Warwick Anderson
Discussant:
Alondra Nelson
Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

By focusing on the heuristic device of biomedical platforms this panel examines how biomedical innovations engage notions of openness that obscure global political histories of capitalism and colonialism or that provide generative tools for a more sustainable science and planetary health.

Long Abstract:

Drawing from Keating and Cambrioso’s conceptual framework of biomedical platforms (2000), this open session invites papers that examine the technical, organizational, material, and symbolic forms that characterize global health innovations today. Platforms in diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccine development, and microbiota interventions are changing the landscape of public health. As these biomedical platforms globalize—either through commercialization or humanitarianism originating in Northern contexts—they enfold moral economies on the one hand and anticipatory regimes of value on the other. In the past decade, the global push to Open Science—propelled by the EU and UNESCO—further complicate the generative and legitimate dimensions of biomedical platforms. Increasingly, emerging Open Science practices make biomedical developments intimately dependent on digital (for-profit) internet platforms. Whether it concerns the uses of Open Data, Open Source, Open Access, or other Open Science initiatives, the logic of capital operates invisibly though divisively in biomedical and biotechnological expansions with detrimental costs to issues of ethics and equity. The open session calls for a discussion around the concept of openness in biomedical platforms. By focusing on the heuristic device of platforms, we are interested in examining how biomedical and biotechnological innovations depend on operations of openness that obscure global political histories of capitalism and colonialism. At the same time, platforms may also prove generative in calls for action, and provide the tools for a new configuration toward a more sustainable science and planetary health.

Accepted papers: