A Philosophy of Open Science for Diverse Research Environments

A Philosophy of Open Science for Diverse Research Environments 680 1024 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

In a new book, “Philosophy of Open Science,” authored by Sabina Leonelli, the intricate relationship between openness and scientific inquiry is explored. The book was published online by Cambridge University Press in late July 2023, offering readers an insightful and philosophically informed perspective on the rapidly evolving Open Science (OS) movement.

In recent years, the concept of Open Science (OS) has gained significant traction in the academic and research communities. The notion of open access to research outputs and the sharing of scientific knowledge has become a rallying point for those advocating for a more inclusive and collaborative approach to knowledge creation. However, as the movement evolves, the author argues that a deeper examination of the underlying philosophical assumptions and practical implications of OS is needed. The author posits that a shift is required from a focus on sharing resources to the cultivation of judicious connections within diverse systems of research practice.

A central challenge, as articulated by the author, is the clash between differing interpretations and implementations of openness. These disparities arise from various systems of practice, each with varying degrees of influence and visibility. The author points out that such inequality can lead to epistemic injustice, where certain perspectives are marginalized, ultimately weakening the quality of scientific outcomes. To address this challenge, the author advocates for a process-oriented philosophy of science that emphasizes the conditions under which research outputs are produced, disseminated, and deployed.

The traditional view of OS, grounded in an object-oriented perspective, considers openness as the freedom to share tangible research outputs such as data, models, and articles. However, the author contends that this approach falls short of effectively enhancing scientific knowledge and inclusivity. Instead, the author proposes a shift towards strategies that emphasize specific ways of providing accessibility. This includes a focus on the decision-making processes surrounding contributors, interpretation of objects, and research goals. In this framework, research outputs are seen as temporary markers within the ongoing inquiry process, facilitating communication and learning within and beyond the research community.

Central to this revised perspective is the idea of judicious connections. The author highlights the importance of identifying relevant stakeholders within specific research contexts, aiming to mitigate epistemic injustices while fostering meaningful interactions. This approach challenges researchers to prioritize transparency and engage in critical scrutiny of their own practices. It also places emphasis on creating an environment that encourages researchers to question their control strategies and adapt their methods based on the evolving nature of research.

Addressing the challenges of scale and bureaucracy, the author acknowledges the need for systemic changes in research culture and governance. The article stresses the importance of developing infrastructures that facilitate transdisciplinary dialogue and prioritize collective agency. While acknowledging the influence of the global political economy on scientific research, the author remains optimistic about the potential of OS to promote responsible and responsive practices.

In conclusion, the author asserts that Open Science is more than a technical endeavor; it is a complex interplay of philosophical underpinnings, research practices, and societal implications. By shifting the focus from sharing to judicious connections, the OS movement can foster a more inclusive and robust approach to knowledge creation. As the landscape of research continues to evolve, it is imperative for scholars, institutions, and policymakers to engage in thoughtful discussions and enact meaningful changes that align with the core principles of Open Science.

More details at the following links: CORDIS and Full Book (Author: Sabina Leonelli)

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