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Sessions in: Open Science

A.1 How do geographic imbalances in mainstream scientific knowledge production impact sociotechnical change in lower income countries?

Samuel John Unsworth1 , Muez Ali2
1: Environmental Systems Analysis, Sweden, 2: Muez Ali, University College London, United Kingdom


There is growing recognition that mainstream scientific knowledge production (understood here as research published in indexed journal articles) is subject to imbalances in participation (Ali et al., 2023; Amarante et al., 2021; Nielsen & Andersen, 2020; Overland et al., 2021). A now well-evidenced observation is that scholars based at institutions in higher income countries tend to dominate scientific knowledge production which seeks to drive change in lower income countries. This has many implications, related for example to the prospects for lower income country-based scholars seeking to contribute to global scientific discourse; the assumptions and values encoded in research outputs that become influential in lower income countries; and the processes, knowledge products and systems which lower income country decisionmakers follow in their efforts to shape sociotechnical change. Such implications are comparatively under-researched, despite many researchers having experienced them anecdotally. They need to be thoroughly analysed if scholars and practitioners are to make meaningful progress towards a wider and more inclusive process of knowledge production to respond to societal needs.

We therefore invite contributions to this session from scholars whose work explores these implications. Conference paper submissions for this session should explore questions such as; how may geographic imbalances in scientific knowledge affect policy prescriptions – or other initiatives for change – in lower income countries? How do diaspora scholars based at higher income country institutions navigate an unbalanced scientific knowledge production landscape and what are the implications of this for sociotechnical change in these scholars’ home countries? What role does mainstream scientific knowledge production actually play in sociotechnical change processes, relative to other knowledge systems? What kinds of research designs can help scholars to better understand the implications of these imbalances? And what empirical cases and imagined futures can illustrate how scientific knowledge production can contribute towards sociotechnical change stemming from localised ontologies, epistemologies and priorities?

By addressing these questions, this session aims to instigate conversations around, and more systematic inquiry into, the socio-technical systems, processes and biases that exalt knowledge from a certain group over others. Given the interdisciplinary, multifaceted and persistent nature of these imbalances, the session aims to bring together researchers operating in different geographies and disciplines. We welcome submissions which support this aim.


Ali, M., Couto, L.C., Unsworth, S., Debnath, R., 2023. Bridging the divide in energy policy research: Empirical evidence from global collaborative networks. Energy Policy 173, 113380.
Amarante, V., Burger, R., Chelwa, G., Cockburn, J., Kassouf, A., McKay, A., Zurbrigg, J., 2021. Underrepresentation of developing country researchers in development research. Applied Economics Letters 0, 1–6.
Nielsen, M.W., Andersen, J.P., 2021. Global citation inequality is on the rise. PNAS 118.
Overland, I., Fossum Sagbakken, H., Isataeva, A., Kolodzinskaia, G., Simpson, N.P., Trisos, C., Vakulchuk, R., 2021. Funding flows for climate change research on Africa: where do they come from and where do they go? Climate and Development 0, 1–20.
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A.2 Trust within (open) science

Judith Hartstein1,2, Alexander Schniedermann1, Nathalie Schwichtenberg1
1: German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), Germany
2: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

The movement towards Open Science radically shifts trust relations among researchers and their products. While “openness” is awarded based on accessibilities, the actual usage of external resources transforms scientific projects into highly interconnected, interdependent and quasi-collaborative endeavors almost belittleing ‘standing on the shoulder of giants’. A science system in which the (re)use of a variety of epistemic resources is rather the norm than the exception, scientific papers, patents, PhD theses or even business ideas will depend on the generosity, honesty, and good intentions of anonymous thirds in an unprecedented manner. This turns the establishment, reevaluation and constant management of trust relations into a core task for researchers.

Open Science turned the idea of legitimate and valuable scientific outputs into a bouquet of easily up- and downloadable things such as datasets, code, software, models, survey questions, preprints, peer review reports or lab notebooks. Although criticized for overfocusing on tangible and citable outputs, asynchronous interactions as the new normal of scientific practice promise to make research more useful, more efficient and more democratic (Leonelli 2023).

Concurrently, science has been overshadowed by scandalizations of fraud and misconduct featuring narratives about deterioration of scientific integrity and waste of public money. While these cases have cost individual credibility, full careers or even lives (Eisen 2014), reform proposals often only pay lip service to adequately consider the day-to-day struggles and uncertainties of individual researchers in establishing and maintaining trust relations (Harvey et al. 2013; Peterson and Panofsky 2020).

Against this backdrop, we want to explore traditional questions of trust relations in the light of novel Open Science phenomena in general and the increasing variety of public research resources in particular. To do so, we invite contributions that aim at questions such as:

  • How do trust relations associated with scientific practices look like? To which extent have the peculiarities of Open Science reformulated such relations? What are related social and epistemic challenges?

  • How do researchers overcome challenges in their day-to-day practices and make decisions for or against using external resources?

  • What are the roles of producers, authors, developers; or places, databases and infrastructures; as well as organizations in establishing, maintaining or certifying trust relations?

  • What are dominant narratives of trust and mistrust among researchers? How have these been influenced by cases of fraud and misconduct? How do such narratives shape perspectives about other scientists, collaborative work and science reform proposals?

  • How can notions of trust be operationalized for empirical analysis?

  • How do conceptions of trust among scientific actors differ from those in other domains, e.g. science-society, public policy, or economic definitions? In what way are those interrelated?


Eisen, M. (2014, August 6). Japanese researcher’s death highlights problems in dealing with scientific misconduct. The Conversation.

Grand, A., Wilkinson, C., Bultitude, K., & Winfield, A. F. T. (2012). Open Science: A New “Trust Technology”? Science Communication, 34(5), 679–689.

Leonelli, S. (2023). Philosophy of Open Science (1. Aufl.). Cambridge University Press.

Peterson, D., & Panofsky, A. (2020). Metascience as a scientific social movement. SocArXiv.

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A.3 Challenges and Opportunities for Open Qualitative Research

Nicki Lisa Cole1, Matthew Good2, Sven Arend Ulpts3
1: Know-Center GmbH, Austria; 2: University of Oslo, Norway; 3: Aarhus University, Denmark

Open Science (OS) values and practices are often framed as at odds with qualitative research. Emerging out of quantitative research traditions, some argue that OS is simply not compatible with the often context- and researcher-dependent nature, and the diversity of epistemologies and approaches of qualitative research. For example, some argue that it is impractical to share qualitative data because of the vast amount of labor and documentation that would be required to provide adequate metadata to make qualitative data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Others claim that open qualitative data raises serious privacy and ethics concerns for research participants, especially regarding participant consent. Some have argued against the practice of qualitative research preregistration, stating that it is inappropriately limiting for the often-exploratory nature of qualitative research.

Yet, albeit under different guise, transparency in both the research process and its outputs has a long tradition in qualitative research, which seems to align with core tenets of OS. In fact, some suggest that quantitative researchers can learn a lot from qualitative research about opening up the research process instead of predominantly focusing on open outputs.

This bears out in practice, with a growing body of resources that support and facilitate Open Qualitative Research (OQR). These include specialized Open Qualitative Data repositories, specialized trainings, and published guidance for OQR practices (e.g., open methods and analysis, preregistration and Open/FAIR Data). There is a growing community of qualitative researchers embracing OS values and collaborating to define the solutions and best practices for OQR. And, a growing body of literature focuses on both the challenges and opportunities for OQR.

Yet, this is still very much an emerging community and set of practices. Therefore, this session is designed to gather practitioners of OQR, and its critics, to address ongoing questions, concerns and debates, including and not limited to: 1) ethical and privacy issues of OQR and their implications for research practice; 2) Reported outcomes of the practical implementation of OQR; 3) The roles of platforms in facilitating OQR, what they are doing to help and what they can do better; 4) Pilots and guidance for back-end challenges like qualitative metadata, data stewardship, and methods documentation; 5): The role of QDAS in OQR. We especially welcome critical perspectives, theoretical/epistemological discussions, and ‘failure stories’ that illustrate the challenges and growth points for OQR.

The first half of this two-part session will feature presentations on these topics. The second half will be held as a workshop that aims to identify emerging research topics and questions, foster the development of research collaborations, and build and strengthen the network of Open Qualitative Researchers.

Abstract submissions are welcome for both parts. Those who wish to give a presentation should submit a standard conference abstract and should indicate their (additional) interest in participating in the workshop. Those who prefer to participate just in the workshop should submit an abstract that describes their interest in and experience with this topic and what they hope to achieve by participating in the workshop.

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A.4 Hack the Hackathon: Challenges of Inclusion, Participation, and Fairness

Peter Kahlert1, Bianca Jansky2, Ayush Shukla3
1: European New School of Digital Studies, European University Viadrina, Germany; 2: University of Augsburg, Germany; 3: Athena Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Hackathons – or designathons, datathons, makerthons – are on the rise and proliferate as means combining activation, participation, public relation, ideation, and prototyping. As an attractive ‘happening’ with less institutional narrowness, a hackathon is an apt tool for responding to shortcomings in resources and capabilities, be it for teaching, science communication, or productivity. Hackathons can draw from altruistic solidarity, ideationally sparking motivation, the neo-liberal ‘power of after-hour innovation’.

Hackathons are valuable to open science (Fahrenkrog/Heller/Blümel 2023), medical research (Temiz 2021), and civic action. They can involve publics in scenarios of science communication or help academic research to match visions for enterprises of social innovation. They are used for public scrutiny due diligence of scientific research. Civic hacka/datathons, often part of municipal e-government agenda, attempt to include participants who are concerned themselves as service customers and experts of their everyday lives. Governments are embracing hackathons as a strategy in their research and innovation agendas (, EMODnet hackathon). Not at all limited to this, hackathons and also data donations show growing prevalence within medicine and healthcare research, the creation of applications and solutions (EUvsVirus), involving individuals affected by (chronic) health conditions (Jansky/Hendl/Nocanda 2023), and patch resources and capacities in a field of continual scarcity, urgency, and cultural significance.

In light of the increasing celebration of hackathons as the means for amplifying participation, inclusion, and representation in areas such as healthcare or science, it is crucial to critically scrutinize notions of hackathons – discussions must recognize power relations and concerns of justice and fairness on individual, public and global levels. Making research available raises questions of who ultimately has access and profits from such openness. Thus, we ask: what kind of invisible labor is being performed within hackathons, and who is entitled to scrutinize findings or exploit open data? Who can raise concerns about fairness? Who remains without a voice? Inviting participants to a datathon, hackathon, or panel debate raises similar questions of self-selectivity, micro-power, and privilege (Dunbar-Hester 2019). What subjects are being produced (Irani 2015)?

We invite submissions presenting findings of concluded research as well as preliminary insights, as long as they provide an empirical, theoretical, or conceptual matters for discussing open science practices such as hackathon or datathons from a critical perspective concerning one or more of the following issues:

Fairness, inclusion, justice,

Privilege, representations,

Participation and (self-)exploitation

(Lack of) accountability, responsibility

Commercialisation of social innovation, profit, and ownership

Global perspective – local case studies

Our call addresses everyone who identifies as early career researchers as well as senior STS researchers or similar qualitative, socio-scientific research alike. Contributions do not need to limit themselves to classic presentation, but may suggest other means of communication – e.g. bringing in artifacts, doing a hackathon-sprint. Submissions that challenge critical issues of open science through means of open science are especially encouraged.

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A 5: Cultural Contexts of Science-Making: The Fragmentation of the Science(s)-Public(s) Relationship in the Digital Age

Martin Jordanov Ivanov1, Yuh-Yuh Li2, Svetlomir Zdravkov1, Petya Klimentova1, Ahmet Suerdem3


1: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria; 2: National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), Kaohsiung, Taiwan; 3: Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey


The year 1985 seems to be memorable in the movement to better understand the relationship between science and the public. The Royal Society issued the so-called Bodmer report that claimed a new field of study, the Public Understanding of Science. Two other books Shinn & Whitley’s Expository Science and Shapin & Schaffer’s Leviathan and the Air Pump went further, both claiming that the public is playing not a passive but an active role in knowledge production.

Some 40 years later, a lot has been discussed on science communication and science-making. As the debate has evolved over time, it overcome the initial understanding of the deficit model that science is developing in its own sphere distinct from the public sphere on the contrary – there is general consent that there is no one science, but sciences and they have their own audiences. Therefore, science-making cannot be separated from its communication dimension is a crucial claim. The general idea is that there are multiple heterogeneous audiences, which are involved in this process of science-making and are playing an active role in the formation of the public images of science. It seems that not science literacy, but the balance of power between non-scientists (laypersons) and scientists is central.

Furthermore, scientists such as Bruno Latour have demonstrated that human and non-human mediators of science are not passive intermediaries of scientific messages and interfere with scientists’ work, creating new and unpredictable entities. The opening of the black box of laboratory life inspired a series of investigations not only on the relationships of the scientists with their objects but the whole process of socializing the scientific results and involving the public and the so-called actor-networks.

Meanwhile, in the digital age, when radio and television lost their dominant place in the public sphere, these processes are becoming more complex and accelerating in speed, scale, and scope. With the rise of internet mediation, the scientist has to fight for a place under the spotlight on equal footing with the audience and many other actors who claim to be an authority in speaking on behalf of the facts. The information and data access and volumes are unprecedented. The active role of the audience is much more visible and traceable.

Nevertheless, the digital imprints that every user is leaving on the Internet are revealing new ways of connections between science and society, which provide new opportunities to study the public understanding of science in its fragmentation. Concepts like Open Science are partly revealing that and trying to overcome it. On the other hand, fragmentation is not just a media effect, the science and technologies reached every corner of our globalized world and formed very distinctive hybrid networks between local culture, infrastructure, politics, and so on. The boundaries between facts and fiction are blurring, and the researchers are no more in a leading role. There are even more cultural differences visible and the quite different understanding of science(s) across the globe is raising questions about the local contexts of science-making.

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A 6: Openness: an emerging moral economy of science

Thomas König1, Jonathan LoTempio2,3, Eric Vilain2
1: Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna; 2: University of California, Irvine; 3: Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

The session organizers follow up on the idea of framing “openness” as an emerging moral economy in science. The first iteration of this idea has been published as a conference paper with the proceedings of STS Graz 2023 (Koenig et al 2023). There, we trace a line from the mostly implicit mentioning of openness in the Mertonian norms to current policies and mandates from governments and funders that make openness explicit – mostly under the label of Open Science. We suggest that the combination of incremental and radical changes to scientific practices, together with said mandates and policy instruments, have lead to an environment where openness abounds.

One advantage of using “openness” instead of Open Science is because the former term allows for more distance when it comes to analyzing the contemporary scientific practices, science policies, and semantics of science that revolve around the gravitational center that is commonly put as Open Science. We invite prospective discussants to read our target paper and consider it as the focus for abstracts or papers related to openness as a moral economy of science. Specifically, we wish for perspective discussants to consider this key passage from our paper:

“Openness has transitioned from a facet of consideration within this sedimented set of norms to a concept which stands by itself (i.e., a moral economy in the making). Why? We attribute the answer to this question to three main factors:

  1. Over the course of the past seven decades, the societal context in which science is embedded has entirely changed.

  2. As a related consequence, scientific practices have been developing in numerous niches and differentiated (or, fractalized) into many efforts, research fields, subdisciplines.

  3. The modality of doing science has fundamentally changed due to new media and communication formats, i.e., “digitalization”.”

We foresee a panel session with 3-4 presentations, each of which will be given approximately 10 minutes to speak on their topic. Then moderated discussion will take place over the remaining 45-60 minutes of our 90-minute session.

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