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Jan 21, 2016 Article
The "Problem of Extension" revisited: new modes of digital participation in science

by Sascha Dickel and Martina Franzen

Citizen Science is part of a broader reconfiguration of the relationship between science and the public in the digital age: Knowledge production and the reception of scientific knowledge are becoming increasingly socially inclusive. We argue that the digital revolution brings the "problem of extension" — identified by Collins and Evans in the context of science and technology governance — now closer to the core of scientific practice. In order to grasp the implications of the inclusion of non-experts in science, the aim of this contribution is to define a role-set of non-certified knowledge production and reception, serving as a heuristic instrument for empirical clarifications.

Volume 15 • Issue 01 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part I, 2016

Mar 21, 2013 Article
Diffusing scientific knowledge to innovative experts

by Svend Tveden-Nyborg, Morten Misfeldt and Birte Boelt

Communicating science to scientists works well thanks to well-defined communication structures based on both printed material in peer-reviewed publications   and oral presentations, e.g.\ at conferences and seminars. However, when science is communicated to practitioners, the structures become fuzzy. We are   looking at how to implement Web2.0 technologies to Danish seed scientists communicating to seed consultants, agricultural advisors, and seed growers, and  we are met with the challenge of securing effective knowledge diffusion to the community. Our investigation's focal point is on Rogers' theoretical framework  ``Diffusion of Innovation'' (DOI), as we look at how DOI may affect the Danish seed industry if science communication is redesigned in accordance with the  framework. During our project workshop, participants recognized trends and characteristics from DOI in the Danish seed community and argued for more  collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This can be done by implementing fast-learning via online website, but it needs to be assisted by   slower-paced face-to-face learning to lessen the risk of a digital knowledge divide within the community.

Volume 12 • Issue 01 • 2013

Jan 28, 2013 Article
Using a scientific literacy cluster to determine participant attitudes in scientific events in Japan, and potential applications to improving science communication

by Shishin Kawamoto, Minoru Nakayama and Miki Saijo

Various science events including Science Cafés have been held in Japan. However, there is the question whether these are events in which all people in society can participate? In particular, methods for checking whether or not the event attracts the participants targeted by the organizers have not yet been well established. In this paper, the authors have designed a simplified questionnaire to identify the participants’ attitudes toward science, technology and society, which can then be grouped into four clusters. When applied to various science cafés, the results revealed that participants consisted of Cluster 1 “Inquisitive  type” and Cluster 2 “Sciencephile” who are interested in science and technology. The cafes studied did not provide sufficient appeal to people of Clusters 3 and  4 who are not interested in science and technology without applying some inventive methods. Our method provides a means of objectivelyevaluating the tendencies of participants in science communication events in order to improve the spread of science communications within society.

Volume 12 • Issue 01 • 2013

Dec 17, 2012 Article
Public opinions regarding the relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorders and society: social agenda construction via science café and public dialogue using questionnaires

by Jin Higashijima, Yui Miura, Chie Nakagawa, Yasunori Yamanouchi, Kae Takahashi and Masaki Nakamura

Rapid and significant developments in the science of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) have provoked serious social and ethical concerns as well as positive influences worldwide. This study created a social agenda containing 21 important issues regarding the relationship between ASDs and society and the development of the science of ASDs. The agenda was constructed with the input of a variety of Japanese people who were provided with scientific ASD information and engaged in discussions regarding ASDs. First, opinions were sought via a questionnaire from the attendees of six science café sessions. Then, additional important issues were put forward by attendees of a larger dialogue session regarding the relationship between ASDs and society, again via a questionnaire. The agenda covered a wide range of issues, including information regarding ASDs, people’s understanding of ASDs, social support, education, the difference between ASD characteristics and individuality, ASD research, diagnosis, and social attitudes.

Volume 11 • Issue 04 • 2012

Mar 16, 2012 Commentary
Web 2.0: netizen empowerment vs. unpaid labor

by Carlo Formenti

Scientific information looks to Web 2.0 models as an opportunity for shedding the constraints of traditional scientific publishing (high costs, slow processing, domination by elites). However, outcomes in the other fields that have preceded it along this path (open source communities, file sharing networks, citizen journalism), have cast several doubts on utopian fantasies about the “democratization” of information and knowledge. So far Web 2.0 has actually witnessed new forms of concentrations of resources and innovative ways for the commercial exploitation of collective creativity.

Volume 11 • Issue 01 • 2012

Feb 15, 2012 Article
Ad hominem arguments in the service of boundary work among climate scientists

by Lawrence Souder and Furrah Qureshi

Most accounts of an ideal scientific discourse proscribe ad hominem appeals as one way to distinguish it from public discourse. Because of their frequent use of ad hominem attacks, the Climategate email messages provoked strong criticisms of climate scientists and climate science. This study asks whether the distinction between public and scientific discourse holds in this case and thus whether the exclusion of ad hominem arguments from scientific discourse is valid. The method of analysis comes from the field of informal logic in which argument fallacies like the ad hominem are classified and assessed. The approach in this study focuses on a functional analysis of ad hominem—their uses rather than their classification. The analysis suggests three distinct functional uses of ad hominem remarks among the Climategate emails: (1) indirect, (2) tactical, and (3) meta-. Consistent with previous research on ad hominem arguments in both public and scientific discourse, these results reinforce the common opinion of their fallacious character. Only the remarks of the last type, the meta- ad hominem, seemed to be non-fallacious in that they might help to preempt the very use of ad hominem attacks in scientific discourse.

Volume 11 • Issue 01 • 2012

Mar 22, 2010 Commentary
Is there something like a peer to peer science?

by Michel Bauwens

How will peer to peer infrastructures, and the underlying intersubjective and ethical relational model that is implied by it, affect scientific practice? Are peer-to-peer forms of cooperation, based on open and free input of voluntary contributors, participatory processes of governance, and universal availability of the output, more productive than centralized alternatives? In this short introduction, Michel Bauwens reviews a number of open and free, participatory and commons oriented practices that are emerging in scientific research and practice, but which ultimately point to a more profound epistemological revolution linked to increased participatory consciousness between the scientist and his human, organic and inorganic research material.

Volume 9 • Issue 01 • 2010 • Special Issue

Mar 22, 2010 Book Review
The unsustainable Makers

by Adam Arvidsson

The Makers is the latest novel of the American science fiction writer, blogger and Silicon Valley intellectual Cory Doctorow. Set in the 2010s, the novel describes the possible impact of the present trend towards the migration of modes of production and organization that have emerged online into the sphere of material production. Called New Work, this movement is indebted to a new maker culture that attracts people into a kind of neo-artisan, high tech mode of production. The question is: can a corporate-funded New Work movement be sustainable? Doctorow seems to suggest that a capitalist economy of abundance is unsustainable because it tends to restrict the reach of its value flows to a privileged managerial elite.

Volume 9 • Issue 01 • 2010 • Special Issue

Mar 22, 2010 Commentary
Shirky and Sanger, or the costs of crowdsourcing

by Mathieu O'Neil

Online knowledge production sites do not rely on isolated experts but on collaborative processes, on the wisdom of the group or “crowd”. Some authors have argued that it is possible to combine traditional or credentialled expertise with collective production; others believe that traditional expertise's focus on correctness has been superseded by the affordances of digital networking, such as re-use and verifiability. This paper examines the costs of two kinds of “crowdsourced” encyclopedic projects: Citizendium, based on the work of credentialled and identified experts, faces a recruitment deficit; in contrast Wikipedia has proved wildly popular, but anti-credentialism and anonymity result in uncertainty, irresponsibility, the development of cliques and the growing importance of pseudo-legal competencies for conflict resolution. Finally the paper reflects on the wider social implications of focusing on what experts are rather than on what they are for.

Volume 9 • Issue 01 • 2010 • Special Issue

Mar 22, 2010 Commentary
Outlaw, hackers, victorian amateurs: diagnosing public participation in the life sciences today

by Christopher M. Kelty

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, hackers and Victorian gentlemen. Occasioned by a symposium held at UCLA (Outlaw Biology: Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio), the essay introduces several different modes of participation (DIY Bio, Bio Art, At home clinical genetics, patient advocacy and others) and makes three points: 1) that public participation is first a problem of legitimacy, not legality or safety; 2) that public participation is itself enabled by and thrives on the infrastructure of mainstream biology; and 3) that we need a new set of concepts (other than inside/outside) for describing the nature of public participation in biological research and innovation today.

Volume 9 • Issue 01 • 2010 • Special Issue