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We suggest a number of thematic fields as a guideline to address contemporary challenges of the interplay between science, technology and society. We encourage session proposers to follow the guidelines.We suggest a number of thematic fields as a guideline to address contemporary challenges of the interplay between science, technology and society. We encourage session proposers to follow the guidelines.

A.1 Promise, Pitfalls, and full of Potential: Evaluating Open Science as an Expression of Science in and for Society

Thomas König, Jonathan LoTempio

IHS Vienna, Austria

What is “Open Science”? In its most neutral, it could be argued that it describes the digitization of labor conditions, the open-sourcing of publication, and the broad dissemination of knowledge in the sciences. However, as a common, prosaic term, it can be filled with meaning by its context of use. It can be a rallying cry, with its proponents claiming incremental or radical change of the scientific enterprise, and to rid it from its ailments. It can be a sledgehammer, requiring different values conform to the most open standard. But, most importantly, Open Science is used to legitimize and instigates a plethora of (new) activities which have resulted in resource (re-)allocation

Importantly, as an actionable policy term, it remains ambiguous and has spawned often contradictory goals. Open Science is often delineated along lists and classifications, but its normative core is seldomly discussed. Critics have claimed that “the open science movement is an artifact of the current neoliberal regime of science” (Mirowski 2018), and that it “should not be discussed as an economically or politically neutral technological fix that broadens access to academic knowledge while leaving unaffected the knowledge produced” (Sundell 2021). Despite this criticism, Open Science advocates claim that the openness of science will ensure that the practice of science improves, becomes more efficient, and integrates with and better serves society.

But is this a realistic claim? Or, to ask differently: can we define the tangible goals of the Open Science movement? And what accounts for a realistic analytical framework to assess Open Science as a (normative) science policy – as well as to assess its actual impact? In short, can we evaluate whether the critics or advocates have a stronger position?

This session aims to bring together conceptual frameworks and empirical evidence of Open Science in the working. While there will be traditional paper presentations, the session also aims at a more conclusive approach by stimulating a group discussion on the potentials and limitations of Open Science, based on these papers.

Keywords: Open Science, science policy, analytical framework


A.2 Open Science: Perspectives for Policy-Making?

Bernhard Wieser, Stefan Reichmann

TU Graz, Austria

The session attempts to explore the potential of Open Science practices for policy making. The issue is particularly pressing in to the Grand Challenges of contemporary societies. The session aims to engage, but is not limited to, researchers and Open Science practitioners who carry out policy relevant research. Panellists should reflect on participatory processes in policy making or possible barriers to and incentives for participation with the aim of understanding whether and how Open Science can help to facilitate (participatory) policy processes.

Presentations may address (but are not limited to) the following questions: How can Open Science make an impact on the use of evidence in policy-making? Is openness broadly defined enough to incite the use of research outcomes by policy makers? Are there other enabling conditions which must be met, thereby limiting the impact Open Science can have in principle? Do these conditions vary systematically between research fields, i.e. does the potential for Open Science to make an impact vary systematically by field? Has Open Science changed/can Open Science change the way scientific expertise is used in deliberative processes (policy-making)? What other conditions affect the uptake of research in policy-making?

Keywords: Open Science, uptake, policy-making


A.3 Inclusion and Exclusion in Citizen Science

Michael Strähle, Christine Urban

Science Shop Vienna, Austria

Associated with promises of inclusion and sometimes the democratisation of research processes, citizen science is a highly normatively charged term. These promises often go hand in hand with the optimistic claim that citizen science is per se anti-elitist and anti-traditionalist (Haklay 2013, Nascimento et al. 2018, Kimura 2016) and stands for openness, civic education – and indeed inclusion (Sauermann & Franzoni 2015, Schrögel & Kolleck 2019). According to Kimura & Kinchy (2016) the promises and expectations associated with citizen science often contradict each other, therefore citizen science cannot live up to all the promises attached to it. Basically, it is largely unclear which promises of citizen science regarding inclusion and democratic participation can be fulfilled, since despite its increasing popularity, there is no agreement on what the term encompasses: Auxiliary activities in scientific projects, project-supported school lessons, participating in the shaping of research policy, making computing capacities available, amateur science and more. To date, there has been little systematic research on who participates in citizen science projects (See 2016, Pandya & Dibner 2018, Burgess et al. 2017), however, according to Pandya & Dibner (2018), cumulative effects in favour of middle-class individuals are also likely to be evident in citizen science. Seen in this light, it is difficult to answer the question of how inclusive citizen science is. How, then, can we generally verify the promises of some proponents of citizen science with regard to inclusion and participation?

This panel brings together researchers investigating the nexus of scientists and publics in open science, citizen science and public engagement in science. Potential questions include:

  • Who is actually involved in citizen science activities? What characterises these participants?
  • Who are the “citizens”? Shall we still call citizen science depending on sponsoring by industry citizen science?
  • In what roles are different participants presented by project owners? What people are presented?
  • When it comes to decision-making in research or agenda-setting in science policy, when is it desirable and when is it not desirable that citizens are involved? When would it give concerned groups a voice, when would it allow powerful groups to influence research disproportionately?

The panel invites contributions that offer theoretical perspectives on inclusion and exclusion in citizen science as well as empirical studies on the panel topic.

Keywords: citizen science, public engagement in science, inclusion, exclusion


A.4  Using Indigenous Knowledge to Promote Sustainable Development in Africa: Towards Decolonizing Development Science and Education

Geoffrey I. Nwaka

Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria

Global inequalities today derive from the unequal power relations in the way knowledge about development has historically been produced and applied. The current pattern of development in Africa has been likened to building a house from the roof down, as all the institutions of modernization appear to be suspended over societies that have no firm connection to them. Indeed critics blame state failure and the governance crisis in Africa on “the structural disconnection between formal institutions transplanted from outside and indigenous institutions born of traditional African cultures”. Marshall Sahlins has therefore rightly emphasized the need for all peoples “to indigenize the forces of global modernity, and turn them to their own ends”, as the real impact of globalization depends largely on the responses developed at the local level. How can Africa engage with globalization, and address the continent’s many development challenges by drawing on local human and material resources for greater self-reliance and sustainable development? We argue that Africa should search within its own knowledge systems for appropriate ideas and approaches to many of its development problems, including environmental protection and climate change adaptation. We recognize that with growing global interdependence, Africa stands to gain from global science and international best practices, and that indigenous knowledge and global science should be made to complement and enrich each other. Researchers and development community should recognize the fact of epistemic diversity, and try to tap into indigenous knowledge for locally appropriate ways to achieve more inclusive, participatory and sustainable development. The panel welcome papers that deal with various aspects of the indigenous knowledge movement in Africa. Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Indigenous knowledge, traditional institutions and good governance
  • Indigenous knowledge, informal justice system and conflict resolution
  • Indigenous knowledge, traditional healing, healthcare and wellness
  • Indigenous knowledge and agricultural and natural resource management;
  • Indigenous knowledge, environmental protection, and local responses and adaptation to climate change;
  • Indigenous knowledge, the informal sector enterprises
  • Local content in education; the language question, and curriculum reform;
  • Indigenous knowledge as local response to globalization and Western knowledge dominance.

Keywords: indigenous/local knowledge, Africa, sustainable development


A.5. Digital contestations of openness: dynamics and frictions in digitized science communication

Clemens Bluemel, Bernd Kleimann

German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), Germany

Open Science, it is often held, aims at enhancing the science and society relationship by making science more open, transparent, and accessible to the public, thereby restoring trust in scholarly knowledge production. Yet, in order to restore trust and to make science more accountable to the public, scholars are also expected to more openly communicate their ideas and findings to the public, exploring new channels for communication and interaction with wider audiences. This session aims to explore which frictions such practices of open communication face in the light digitalization. While digitalization has enabled new forms of scholarly knowledge production to flourish, such as sites for information exchange (ResearchGate), code (GitHub) and data (Datacite), it has also changed the ways of how scholarly information is debated in the public. Scholarly information is increasingly debated on social media platforms which are specific in how information can be processed and spread, but also in how information can be emotionalized. While scholars have only started to understand the dynamics of communication on these sites, the Covid-19 pandemic has already shown that they can be used for both the spread of information but also for generating distrust in science institutions. Actors such as the German Council for the Sciences and the Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) have already started debates about how scholars can be supported in dealing with shit-storms in the digital realm.

Against that background, the session invites contributions focusing on questions such as the following: How do we deal with frictions and challenges of open communication of scientific results in light of the digital transformation? How can the fragility and contestation of scholarly knowledge production be communicated openly – without generating distrust in science? How does scholarly communication following the principles of open science deal with the different affordances and dynamics of social media and digital platforms?

We invite theoretical, methodological as well as empirical papers dealing with challenges of digital science communication in light of the Open Science movements. We specifically encourage papers which showcase how Open Science practices and principles, such as Open Peer Review, or discussion of preliminary results are challenged in digital science communication.

Keywords: digitalization, open science, science communication


A.6 Understanding barriers and drivers to facilitate responsible research and innovation (RRI) in organization contexts

Sandra Karner1, Zoltán Bajmócy2, Raúl Tabarés3, György Pataki4

1 USZ – University of Szeged, Hungary
2 IFZ – Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture, Austria
3 Tecnalia, Spain
4 ESSRG – Environmental Social Science Research Group, Hungary

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is often considered to be a call for introducing ethics or politics into technological development. However, technological development has always been a political practice that reflects certain values or politics. The rise of RRI is not rooted in the lack of ethical and political content, but in the dissatisfaction with the actual politics and ethics of current regional innovation ecosystems in place.

The quest for RRI does not start with a clean slate. It needs to consider current aspirations of actors, their narratives on de facto responsibility, as well as the structural constraints amongst which they operate. RRI is likely to involve both de-institutionalization (challenging what is out there) and a process of (deep) institutionalization. RRI, as an element of transformative innovation policy, aspires to bring together various actors in order to co-create change, but can also expect resistance from numerous incumbent actors.

Therefore, one of the most vital issues emerging around RRI is engaging with various (multiple and diverse) actors (an in particular with citizens and civil society organizations) in an inclusive, discursive and reflective way, being also aware of the diversity of goals, values and interpretations, the presence of power differences and potential resistance

The objective of the present session is to understand the institutional and organizational changes required for a transformation of regional research and innovation ecosystems towards RRI; and in particular for building capacity for citizen and community engagement. We propose to discuss whether and how RRI can open up a window of opportunity at research performing or funding organizations (RPOs and RFOs) to call the currently dominant internal logics into question by ethical and political reflections; and how can actors transform and be transformed by the existing RRI discourses and practices.

We invite you to share examples, practices, dilemmas and theories about transforming research and innovation ecosystems at institutional and organization levels towards RRI and, in particular, towards building capacities for citizen and community engagement. Topics may embrace (but are not limited to):

  • Which institutional settings present more/less barriers and tensions towards the adoption of RRI?
  • How can R&I actors be mobilized and incentivized towards the adoption of societal engagement?
  • What is the role of institutional policies in facilitating the adaptation of settings for transformative societal engagement?
  • How organizational change can provide room for transformative change? How to avoid “responsibility washing”?
  • How can community engagement enhance the adoption of RRI?
  • Which regional aspects can deter or favour the adoption of RRI at institutional level?

The session will be organised as an interactive workshop format. Details about the setting will be communicated in the scope of notification about acceptance of submitted contributions.

Keywords: RRI, institutional change, organizational learning, transformative change, regional innovation ecosystems, community based research


A.7 Open Science: Ambition versus Reality – perspectives from research funders

Benjamin Missbach, Donia Lasinger

WWTF - Vienna Science and Technology Fund, Austria

Openness in scientific research is at the core of the work of every researcher: sharing results with your peers, critically discussing outcomes and inspiring others is pivotal for scientific progress. What part of the scientific process can be inspiring for others? The final publication or the whole scientific process? What role do funders play in this course of action and to what degree are they allowed to intervene with policies, guidelines and/or incentives?

Research funders (RFO) indeed hold a very responsible part in the game of science: trying to identify gaps and needs of the scientific community, academic institutions, and local stakeholders. Many disciplines, many different communities, and a lot of different understanding on how science should be done needs to be considered when formulating calls and setting funding criteria.

In this session, we want to dig deeper into this field of tension, first by providing insights into how the WWTF (Vienna Science and Technology Fund) is currently converging towards Open Science and what considerations, obstacles and opportunities are encountered and ii) to provoke a dialog between RFOs and researchers about the multi-perspective dimensions of open science.

We especially invite young researchers to submit contributions and perspectives to this session. The session will be held in 90 minutes and is split up in two parts: First, a general input of Open Science considerations from an Open Science expert on how to bring openness into practice (30min). Secondly, a mix of research funder representatives and researchers covering national and international perspectives from academia will engage in a fish-bowl discussion format to identify gaps, barriers and chances coming along this discussion (60min).

Keywords: Open Science, funder perspective, openness, boundaries, chances


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Please follow the guidelines when submitting an abstract, create a ConfTool account and use then the online form to submit your abstract no later than January 21st, 2022!

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