3-5 May 2021
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 Data

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 Connecting.Ideas4Research

 Kleinberger-Pierer, Harald, Werner, Matthias (FH JOANNEUM, Graz)

The session presents intermediate findings of the research and knowledge transfer project Connecting.Ideas4Research – participative, inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge transfer processes between research and communities of practice. At the same time, the session is open to the general conference public and welcomes contributions that can connect to the project’s topics.

Universities and research organisations are confronted with increasingly complex demands, e.g. digitalisation, the emergence of new disciplines, commercial exploitation of knowledge, and are expected to address big societal challenges like sustainable development or climate change. These demands, that are ambiguous and may be even conflicting, point to new opportunities but also to the need for change. Against this background Connecting.Ideas4Research explores two promising approaches addressing these challenges in two practice oriented subprojects:

  • Crowdsourcing (for research): The integration of communities of practice into problem identification as well as into the generation of new ideas for solutions.
  • Digital ethics & RRI: The examination of ethical implications of digitalisation for research practice (and research organisation).

Crowdsourcing (for research): The core idea of the subproject on crowdsourcing in science is to generate innovative research topics and questions in participative processes, with a variety of methods in collaboration with a specific community of practice. To this end, exemplary interdisciplinary use-cases from the fields of medicine, physiotherapy, music pedagogy and architecture are conducted. The use-cases will be evaluated in regard to suitable topics, processes and interactions for participatory science in practice.

Digital ethics & RRI: In a discourse on “digital ethics” –understood as ethical aspects of R&D in the context of digitalisation– approaches to digitalisation related ethical problems in research are explored. Such ethical problems may refer to the design of digital technologies and products, but also to the implementation of digital methods in almost all disciplines and research fields. The project investigates views of experts from RRI, research ethics and ethics of technology, and digitalisation, and assesses options for organisational measures.

Both subprojects experiment with new approaches and aim at (mutual) learning and the identification and development of adapted solutions in our organisations. Nevertheless, Connecting.Ideas4Research also aims at reflecting its findings against the background of policy- or theory-driven debates about the role of science and universities in society.

For our conference session, we are interested in contributions that can connect to one of the two project strands. Besides approaches to our topics that deliberate chances, options or restrictions on a more conceptual level, we are interested in contributions that focus on strategies for and/or experiences from the implementation of practical measures. In this respect we highly appreciate perspectives that consider practices in research projects and organisations, with the aim to improve researchers’ and universities’ abilities to deal with (new) societal demands.


The project ConnectingIdeas4Research is part of WTZ Süd (Knowledge Transfer Centre South: https://www.wtz-sued.at/en/). The project is conducted by CAMPUS 02 Graz, Graz University of Music and Performing Arts, Medical University of Graz, Montanuniversität Leoben, University of Klagenfurt, University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM Graz (lead), and Carinthia University of Applied Sciences.

The WTZ Süd is financed by aws, by means of the National Foundation of Research, Technology and Development (Austrian Funds).


KEYWORDS: Open Science, Crowdsourcing, Participation, RRI, digital (research) ethics