Science and Society Relationships revisited

S27: Valuing and knowing: studying the entanglement of valuation and knowledge practices

ASDAL, Kristin (University of Oslo), Norway,  FOCHLER, Maximilian (University of Vienna), Austria

Practices of ascribing and measuring value are crucial to virtually every domain of contemporary societies. Be it the forecast of the expected generation of economic value related to a specific policy action, the quantification of the number of quality-adjusted months of life gained through a specific medical treatment, the assessment of whether the quality of an academic’s work merits tenure or the screening of basic competencies of children in education; in each of these instances (and many more) how value is being ascribed will have important practical and normative consequences.
This panel focuses on the complex relations of valuation and knowledge practices. On the one hand, virtually all valuation practices build on practices and infrastructures of knowing. Whether it is school performance or the level of Co2 emissions, valuation practices build on knowledge practices defining the objects to be valued and measured, and the means through which this can be done. Often, these knowledge practices are made durable in knowledge infrastructures, such as databases or standardized indicator systems. On the other hand, knowledge practices themselves are strongly influenced by practices and regimes of valuation that define what counts as good knowledge in a specific context. For example, citation metrics affect the perceived authority of both scientists and the knowledge they produce, and standards for considering evidence, for example in regulatory decisions, may exclude specific knowledge practices.

This panel calls for papers from Science and Technology Studies and Valuation Studies that address the co-production of knowledge and valuation practices. It deliberately does not focus on a specific topical domain, but invites contributions focusing on very different fields of practice to invite comparison.

We also welcome methodological reflections on how to study valuation practices as knowledge practices (and vice versa). What is the relation of recent work on this to older traditions of studying knowledge production practices and their contexts (such as the laboratory studies)? Which methodological approaches are apt to study the complex entanglements of knowledge and valuation practices.

KEYWORDS: valuation, knowledge production, infrastructure, quantification, methods

S28: The uptake of open science

WIESER, Bernhard (TU Graz), ROSS-HELLAUER, Tony (Know-Center), Austria

Powerful trends towards responsible research and innovation, the globalisation of research, the emergence and inclusion of new or previously excluded stakeholders, and the advent of Open Science are reshaping the scope and nature of research. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open Science in particular hold the promise to make scientific endeavours more inclusive, participatory, understandable, accessible and re-usable for large audiences, especially beyond the ivory towers of universities and research institutions. If effective, these agendas will have deep implications for the various (intended or unintended) ways in which scientific practices are related to the social. Social studies of science have long investigated these entanglements. At first, STS scholars challenged traditional scientific epistemologies and began to scrutinise social dynamics of scientific truth making in the laboratory. Controversial scientific practices, such as recombinant DNA technologies, raised questions of trust in and credibility of science, leading scholars to question what makes scientific knowledge socially robust. As a response to such scientific controversies, many European countries took active steps to advance policy-making. “Inclusive governance” has become an important goal for the European Commission since at least the early 2000s. ELSA research in the context of genomics explored new approaches in public-policy and especially nanotechnology was a field in which ideas regarding responsible research and innovation began to materialize. Aiming at “inclusive governance” RRI promotes the engagement of civil society in various forms of knowledge production, contributing to a wider and more inclusive process of research and innovation as well as political decision-making.

In this session, we focus on Open Science as a central pillar of RRI. Moving Open Science to the centre, we seek to discuss questions such as

  1. How is scientific knowledge accessible (and to whom), and in which ways is this changing?
  2. Who contributes to scientific meaning-making and who remains excluded?
  3. What are the deeper implications of the reproducibility-crises being experienced by disciplines like psychology, economics and health?
  4. The socialised nature of barriers and drivers to data-sharing, and what can be done to encourage the sharing of data and code?
  5. What (hidden) roles do research infrastructures play in shaping research praxis an outcomes?
  6. How can peer review procedures and other forms of quality-assurance become more transparent?
  7. How can the engagement of citizens with scientific knowledge enhance innovation and deliberative policymaking?

We invite colleagues in the field to present research investigating the ways in which Open Science changes knowledge practices inside and outside academia. In particular, we encourage contributors to reflect on the uptake of Open Science outputs in academia, industry and policy-making.

KEYWORDS: RRI, Open Science, uptake, policy-making, innovation

S29: Institutionalising Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI): structural change as a means to institutionalise RRI

KARNER, Sandra (IFZ - Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture), Austria, PATAKI, György (Corvinus University of Budapest/ IAS-STS Graz),  BAJMÒCY, Zoltán (University of Szeged), Hungary

There are still many barriers in research performing organisations (RPOs) and innovation institutions that impede a thorough implementation of the RRI framework in practice. A serious uptake of RRI in the R&I landscape demands for going beyond single, temporary ‘RRI experiments’, and to sustainably change R&I practices and cultures in the long run. Although such ‘RRI experiments’ are important to test and showcase how RRI could be put into practice in specific contexts, actions aiming at structural change on the basis of specific situations, in the context of specific organisational settings, and under specific framework conditions, such as funding, career and reward systems, will be crucial for the institutionalisation and mainstreaming of RRI.
Therefore, this session aims at sharing examples and related experiences about the initiation/implementation of structural change at various levels in the R&I landscape to support the institutionalisation of RRI. Examples may refer to structural change activities that
• tackle organisational settings in RPOs, such as RRI supporting structures, decision making, governance and management structures, career paths, performance evaluation systems, training and development, etc.
• address R&I funding mechanisms, such as agenda setting, review processes, rewarding systems, etc.
• capacity building for non-formal R&I knowledge actors, such as formal and informal science education, measures avoiding unfair exclusion of particular groups from either participation in R&I activities and/or access to benefits arising from research, etc.
• bridge the current knowledge-to-practice/policy gap enabling R&I activities to better align with societal challenges and needs, in particular in regard to its contributions to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
• co-created by multiple and diverse social actors, with a special attention to the needs and engagement opportunities of disadvantaged, marginalised or vulnerable groups of society
• innovative initiatives for democratic and participatory science-society interactions, for example, renewing science cafés, science shops, campus-community engagement activities, among others.
By means of concrete examples, we would like to discuss during the session
• How and why change was possible?
• Which barriers were faced and how they could be overcome?
• Which leverages or windows of opportunity could be used?

The session will be organised as interactive workshop format with much room for learning from each other. The examples shall be presented by following a story-telling format that brings in the point of view of diverse actors who were involved in the respective structural change activities.
Thus, we would like to encourage also all kinds of knowledge-holders, such as people from RPO administration, management, policy making bodies, research funding organisations, and representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs) to participate and share their perspectives on stories of structural change to support the institutionalisation and mainstreaming of RRI.

KEYWORDS: RRI, structural change, innovative science-society interactions, co-creation