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Contested gates -- epistemic and social implications of opening knowledge production and science communication 
Andreas Wenninger (Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities)
Werner Reichmann (University of Konstanz)
Sascha Dickel (Johannes Gutenberg University)
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Conflict, dissolution, contest
Bowland Hall Main Room
Start time:
28 July, 2018 at
Time zone: Europe/London
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

This panel discusses the concept of 'open science' as a contested concept and fragile practice. It analyzes the epistemic, social and cultural implications of open and closed scientific practices, communities, and processes. Therefore, it focuses on the actual gatekeeping within science.

Long Abstract:

Over the last 10 years, scientists have increasingly been encouraged to 'open' science. Frequently, the notion of Open Science is associated with euphoric hopes and optimistic political visions: Open Science is more efficient; delivers better results; overcomes the alienation between science and society; and helps to eliminate global inequalities. In turn, skeptics emphasize possible risks of dissoluted boundaries if the gates of science are opened, e.g. the politicization or medialization of science and the creation of dysfunctional incentives.

This panel brings together STS-scholars who analyze Open Science as a contested concept and practice. It calls for papers dealing with the epistemic, social and cultural implications of open and closed scientific communities and practices.

(1) Therefore, the panel discusses not primarily open publication processes (like in the public discussion) but rather includes the opening/closure of a wide variety of scientific realms and practices, like research in the laboratory, collecting/processing data, discussing scientific matters, creating technology, etc. Which gates are opened? Which are closed? Who or what works and in which ways as gatekeepers?

(2) The panel analyzes the role of new socio-technical tools and environments (e.g. digital platforms) that may help (or even allow for) opening up science for new social groups. How do they engage and participate in research and science communication? How do they adopt research practices?

(3) The panel asks how processes of gatekeeping are actually done in scientific practice and focuses on possible unintended consequence of opening and closing science. Can Open Science lead to new closures?

Accepted papers:

Session 1