The open science "revolution": changing policy, practice - and people?
Rosalind Attenborough (University of Edinburgh)
Paper short abstract:
Scientists around the world are encountering a growing moral-epistemic imperative to be "open". This paper asks whether the era of "open science" is transforming not only policy and practice, but also people: are scientists constructing and internalising openness as an epistemic virtue?
Paper long abstract:
Since the turn of the twenty-first century, scientists and other researchers around the world have encountered a growing moral-epistemic imperative to be "open" in their work. Open access publishing has now become a requirement in many funding regimes, as has open data: the online archiving of primary data underlying a finding. Many more practices - including open peer review and open notebook science - remain outside the mainstream, but promise a more radical open science "revolution". In the midst of these transformations to policies and practices in science, my paper's attention falls on the people - scientists - whose professional and epistemic worlds may be "revolutionised" by openness. Some of these scientists are activists and entrepreneurs who are leading the "revolution"; many form an ambivalent mainstream, navigating "open" regulations around their own epistemic and professional priorities; many define and enact their own unacknowledged and unmeasured forms of "openness". This paper is based on my in-progress PhD data collection, including semi-structured interviews with (biological) scientists, open science advocates, and policymakers; and policy document analysis. I will explore the diverse meanings and practices of scientific openness that scientists have constructed before, within, and in tension with "open" advocacy and policy agendas, and I will ask: are scientists constructing and internalising openness as an epistemic virtue? If so, what does this openness look like? And is the era of "open science" producing new kinds of epistemic subjects - scientists whose professional and epistemic identities are fundamentally shaped by a need for openness?
Scientists - agents under construction