Comment

Special issue on peer-to-peer and user-led science: invited comments

22/03/2010

Abstract: 

In this commentary, we collected three essays from authors coming from different perspectives. They analyse the problem of power, participation and cooperation in projects of production of scientific knowledge held by users or peers: persons who do not belong to the institutionalised scientific community. These contributions are intended to give a more political and critical point of view on the themes developed and analysed in the research articles of this JCOM special issue on Peer-to-peer and user-led science. Michel Bauwens, Christopher Kelty and Mathieu O'Neil write about different aspects of P2P science. Nevertheless, the three worlds they delve into share the "aggressively active" attitude of the citizens who inhabit them. Those citizens claim to be part of the scientific process, and they use practices as heterogeneous as online peer-production of scientific knowledge, garage biology practiced with a hacker twist, or the crowdsourced creation of an encyclopedia page. All these claims and practices point to a problem in the current distribution of power. The relations between experts and non-experts are challenged by the rise of peer-to-peer science. Furthermore, the horizontal communities which live inside and outside the Net are not frictionless. Within peer-production mechanisms, the balance of power is an important issue which has to be carefully taken into account.

Documents: 

22/03/2010

How will peer to peer infrastructures, and the underlying intersubjective and ethical relational model that is implied by it, affect scientific practice?

22/03/2010

This essay reflects on three figures that can be used to make sense of the changing nature of public participation in the life sciences today: outlaws, ha

22/03/2010

Online knowledge production sites do not rely on isolated experts but on collaborative processes, on the wisdom of the group or “crowd”.