4-6 May 2020
Europe/Vienna timezone

A - Open Science: Rethinking the science and society relationship

A.1. Governance, Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement for Sustainable Transition

Thakore, Renuka (University College of Estate Management)

Scholarly discussions on sustainable transition focus mainly on critical success of innovative technical niches. Generally innovative technical niches fail to contribute towards the transition process. Such niches attract less research attention than the small number of successful ones. Through this call, attempt is made to answer the question of why organisations fail in their sustainable transition process. Strategies adopted for sustainable transition have been widely discussed in research literature; however they tend to be either very remonstrating or unpredictable. The failures which are mentioned most frequently include lack of essential characteristics in niches at micro-level such as lack or organisational capabilities; or lack of possible potential in policies at macro-level such as flexible policy framework, existing as different entities on their own. Lack of multi-level perspective, such as estrangement of essential characteristics at all three level: macro, meso and micro, unemployed and dynamically unengaged, incapable of assisting sustainable transition, can also contribute to the failure. From a systematic point of view, these failures hamper the sustainable transition, and thus should be adequately acknowledged in theoretical constructs.

This track proposes to contribute scholarly discussion of the aspects of characteristic of the state of the art and the future theoretical and methodological challenges of sustainable transition research. The aim is to enhance theoretical foundation for potential explanations to assist achieving characteristics required for sustainable transition from a multi-level perspective.

This track is an invitation to researchers to submit papers that would contribute to the concepts, theories, case studies and methods, including but are not restricted to, the following themes:

  • Organisational innovation and sustainable transition
  • Theories underpinning strategic optimisation of organisation capabilities for sustainable transition
  • Characteristics of multi-level perspective system for transition
  • Characteristics of multi-level actors for strategic optimisation linking to sustainable transition
  • Methods applied to investigate failures for strategic optimisation
  • Comparison of transitional strategies and strategies applied for optimisation to assist designing sustainable transition
  • Strategies to overcome the barriers at each level and/or multi-level
  • Aims and Scope
  • Sustainable transition
  • Organizational innovation
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Strategic optimization
  • Organization capabilities
  • Systemic thinking


KEYWORDS: Sustainable transition, Organizational innovation, Multi-level perspective, Organization capabilities, Systemic thinkings

A.2 In- and Outside Open Science

Taubert, Niels (Bielefeld University), Barlösius, Eva (Institute for Sociology and Leibniz Centre for Science and Society, Leibniz University Hannover)

On the one hand, the term ‘open science’ represents a concrete political program for re-shaping the internal structure of science in a new manner.  A whole range of initiatives are set up in order to realize this aim.  These include open access, open research data, open peer review, open educational resources, open methodology, and open notebook science.  Each of these initiatives refers to a key element of science such as research practices, publication of results, self-regulating procedures, and assignment of scientific reputation.  The goal of the political program seems to be clear: existing institutions should be replaced by those which convert each step of the research process into a public issue – accessible, usable and verifiable for everyone at any time.  Therefore, the program is based on specific conceptual ideas on how science should operate, how its relationships with various publics should look like and on the role science should play for society at large.  Nevertheless, the question of how science will respond to such a program is still largely unanswered.  On the other hand, open science remains a vague vision that culminates in the metaphor ‘Making science open to the world’.  Even though great promises are associated with this expression - such as that open science will contribute to a more just world, to more societal participation and integration, to greater prosperity and wealth - its meaning is pretty much unclear and obscure.

The session will question what open science means and what its consequences are.  It will focus on two perspectives:  Firstly, on the changes of the internal structure of science and its external, i.e., societal relations.  Possible contributions may place emphasis on the shaping of inner structures and outside relations in the context of open science as well as on the question on how internal and external characteristics of open science relate to each other. What kind of new relations between science and society can be observed at the advent of open science?  What does ‘open’ in the context of open science mean and to what kind of problems does it refer to?  How is science understood in the political program, how is the relationship between science and society conceptualized and how should it be transformed in the course of open science?  How is the call for open science justified and legitimized in the end?  What are alternative and possible contradicting agendas to the open science governance?

Secondly, contributions may deal with the political program, its implementation and its justification.  Studies on the conceptual ideas and operational structures, mechanisms and practices of an already open science are welcome.  How are the different initiatives of open science put into practice?  How are these practices adopted by different scientific communities, how do they relate to self-regulating mechanisms, what frictions may appear and in what direction has science already been transformed?  What are possible pre-conditions of a discipline or field of knowledge for the adoption of open science?


KEYWORDS: Open Science, Science policy, Open Access, Open Datas

A.3 How responsible is your research? RRI in making and doing

Thaler, Anita (IFZ), Wicher, Magdalena (IHS), Anslinger, Julian (IFZ), Karner, Sandra (IFZ)

Decades ago, STS postulated a shift towards a ‚Mode 2’ knowledge production, to bring science from the ivory towers to inter- and transdisciplinary teams doing participatory research. To address urgent (societal) needs through changing science, innovation and technology governance, to integrate ethical and social issues more directly and shaping the innovation and research process towards more openness and transparency, the integrated concept of RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) has been brought up (Grunwald 2011, van Oudheusden 2014).

Defined by different discourses (the political, European Commission’s approach of the six keys: gender, ethics, societal engagement, science education, open access and governance; and the academic one as a process towards more anticipation, reflexion, responsiveness, inclusion and transparency of doing research and innovation), RRI has been used in various “alternative” approaches to address the grand challenges of our time.

We are interested in actual experiences in (re)organizing our own professional practices of integrating those concepts of ethical considerations, responsible research, ‘good science’, gender equality and social justice (food justice etc.) in any kind of participatory and reflecting research processes. We invite academics and experts, who participated in such responsible research projects to share their experiences, from stumbling blocks to moments of success, and most importantly highlight their lessons learned.

We are explicitly interested in applied responsible research as a practical contribution and intervention to ongoing (global) developments in all areas of emerging techno-scientific areas, where approaches and ways to open up research to a wider scientific and non-scientific community and publics are applied: issues of climate change, food security, gender equality, digitalisation, controversial technologies, security issues, etc.

Examples of participatory technology development and action research to integrate different stakeholders and users as part of the technology and innovation process from the very beginning with the first steps of planning of a project are also welcome.


KEYWORDS: RRI, transdisciplinarity, ethics, gender, participatory

A.4 Open Science: Closing the Gap between Scientific Expertise and Policy-Making?

Reichmann, Stefan (Graz University of Technology), Wieser, Bernhard (Graz University of Technology)

The session attempts to gauge the links between two discussion strands: Open Science, understood broadly as a bunch of practices such as Open Access, Data Sharing, or Open Peer Review, and the Evidence-Policy Gap, familiar e.g. from Public Health literature on the frustrations felt by researchers aiming to address real-world problems. Since Open Science holds the promise to enhance science and society relationships by making scientific endeavours more inclusive, participatory, understandable, accessible and re-usable (in short: transparent) for audiences beyond the ivory towers of universities and research institutions, Open Science practices might help to amend the Evidence-Policy Gap. The issue is particularly pressing in fields where the stakes are high, such as climate research, (public) health, and biotechnology (e.g. GMOs).

The session aims to engage, but is not limited to, researchers and Open Science practitioners who take part in or inform evidence-based policy-making. 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 close the evidence-policy gap. Among other things, evidence-based policymaking needs to be transparent with respect to processes of knowledge production. Open Science practices (e.g. Open Access, FAIR Data) aim at closing the evidence-policy gap by making research processes and outputs more transparently accessible. We therefore invite contributions studying the potential for Open Science to positively affect knowledge transfer (uptake of research), preferably in the form of case studies.

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?

Depending on the submissions, we envision presenters engaging in mutual exchange based on case studies from different (policy) fields.


KEYWORDS: evidence-policy gap, Open Science, uptake, policy-makings


A.5 Open and collaborative forms of organisation for the production of knowledge and material artefacts in the developing world

Reinauer, Tobias (Danish Technical University)

The widespread diffusion of the internet and various communication platforms has drastically facilitated the ability of spatially dispersed communities to interact with each other. This has led to the emergence of new modes for the production of knowledge and material artefacts that make use of open and collaborative forms of organisation. For example, the open science movement uses digital means to make research outputs freely available to non-academic audiences and involves study participants in the design of research and/or the collection of data. The case of the hacker community shows that open and collaborative software development can result in world-leading products (e.g., Linux, Firefox). More recently, we have witnessed a growing number of open hardware projects that involve designing tools and machinery in a collaborative manner and making these openly accessible for others to replicate, improve, or sell.

While these initiatives have predominantly taken place in high-income countries, open and collaborative forms of knowledge and material production potentially also hold great promise for communities in the Global South. For example, digital communication platforms enable the rapid diffusion of scientific and technological knowledge through transfer and co-production. This enables users in developing countries to apply previously inaccessible knowledge. It can also contribute to the development of local businesses where open knowledge can be exploited commercially. Furthermore, open and collaborative forms of production can help promote the development of contextually appropriate technologies due to the involvement of a broad base of users and contributors who usually are left out of the technology development process.

However, there are also a number of barriers to the use of open and collaborative forms of production in the developing world. For instance, communities that would benefit most from appropriate technologies often face shortages in the availability of the material infrastructure and knowledge/skills bases necessary to utilise open access information. With respect to open software and hardware, another common problem concerns the accessibility, transparency and comprehensiveness of the available open source documentation, potentially limiting the replicability of open source designs.

For this session, we invite papers that investigate the emerging phenomena of open and collaborative modes of production in the context of communities located in the Global South. This can include, but does not need to be limited to, research on open science, software, and hardware. Relevant papers could empirically investigate the precise nature of open and collaborative projects and the impacts they have on the communities involved. Submissions could also investigate which elements of such projects would need to be adapted to account for the specific contextual environments found in low and middle-income countries. Papers could also assess the relevance of open and collaborative forms of production for mainstream institutions in developing country contexts, such as investors, markets, government, donor agencies, or research institutions.


KEYWORDS: Open science/software/hardware, open and collaborative forms of production, developing countries


A.6 Citizen science as a way to the social research democratisation

Butkeviciene, Egle (Kaunas University of Technology), Balázs, Bálint (Environmental Social Science Research Group)

Despite an anti-science movement in some sections of society, there are great opportunities for public engagement for scientific research in a transition towards a more cooperative research and innovation sector. However, numbers of scientists and policy-makers argue that science is too isolated from society and still lives in an “ivory tower” or became a commercialization machine (Holbrook, 2019).

There are multiple ways of engaging public perspectives and knowledge in scientific discourse and policy-making. This session is focussed on citizen science as a proper and passionate participatory research methodology for research and knowledge generation, offering a transformative way to the democratisation of social research. Being a relatively new but rapidly growing field, citizen science expands public involvement in science and research and supports alternative models of knowledge production (Hecker et al, 2018). For decades being below the radar for most professional scientists and policymakers, citizen science nowadays aims for multiple social goals beyond scientifically robust findings and can very well provide empowering tools for citizens to develop solutions to their communities’ problems. It also increases science literacy and overall public awareness about the science. On the other hand, there are also sceptical voices regarding citizen science data quality issues, claiming that citizen science lacks scientific and theoretic standards.

We welcome abstract proposals covering a wide variety of topics and domains, including (but not limited to) the following: new social practices of public engagement in scientific research, new trends in knowledge/data production, citizen science and open science, citizen science research methodologies, challenges for citizen science development, etc.

The format of the session: interactive workshop with presentations. All interested researchers are invited to submit abstracts for papers, case studies or contributions for interactive workshop on these or related topics.


KEYWORDS: Citizen science, open science, knowledge production, participatory research, engagement in sciences