Call for Papers: “Trust within (open) science”, Panel at STS Graz 2024, TU Graz, 06.-08.05.2024, Deadline: 22.01.2024

Call for Abstracts


Panel Title: “A.2 Trust within (open) science”

The movement towards Open Science radically shifts trust relations among researchers and their products. While “openness” is awarded based on accessibilities, the actual usage of external resources transforms scientific projects into highly interconnected, interdependent and quasi-collaborative endeavors almost belittleing ‘standing on the shoulder of giants’. A science system in which the (re)use of a variety of epistemic resources is rather the norm than the exception, scientific papers, patents, PhD theses or even business ideas will depend on the generosity, honesty, and good intentions of anonymous thirds in an unprecedented manner. This turns the establishment, reevaluation and constant management of trust relations into a core task for researchers.

Open Science turned the idea of legitimate and valuable scientific outputs into a bouquet of easily up- and downloadable things such as datasets, code, software, models, survey questions, preprints, peer review reports or lab notebooks. Although criticized for overfocusing on tangible and citable outputs, asynchronous interactions as the new normal of scientific practice promise to make research more useful, more efficient and more democratic (Leonelli 2023).

Concurrently, science has been overshadowed by scandalizations of fraud and misconduct featuring narratives about deterioration of scientific integrity and waste of public money. While these cases have cost individual credibility, full careers or even lives (Eisen 2014), reform proposals often only pay lip service to adequately consider the day-to-day struggles and uncertainties of individual researchers in establishing and maintaining trust relations (Harvey et al. 2013; Peterson and Panofsky 2020).

Against this backdrop, we want to explore traditional questions of trust relations in the light of novel Open Science phenomena in general and the increasing variety of public research resources in particular. To do so, we invite contributions that aim at questions such as:

  • How do trust relations associated with scientific practices look like? To which extent have the peculiarities of Open Science reformulated such relations? What are related social and epistemic challenges?
  • How do researchers overcome challenges in their day-to-day practices and make decisions for or against using external resources?
  • What are the roles of producers, authors, developers; or places, databases and infrastructures; as well as organizations in establishing, maintaining or certifying trust relations?
  • What are dominant narratives of trust and mistrust among researchers? How have these been influenced by cases of fraud and misconduct? How do such narratives shape perspectives about other scientists, collaborative work and science reform proposals?
  • How can notions of trust be operationalized for empirical analysis?
  • How do conceptions of trust among scientific actors differ from those in other domains, e.g. science-society, public policy, or economic definitions? In what way are those interrelated?

Please send in your abstract of maximum 600 words until 22.01.2024 (further info). More info about the STS Conf Graz 2024 (06.-08. May) and the panel can be found on the conference website. Please contact us in case of further questions.

Alexander Schniedermann, Judith Hartstein, Nathalie Schwichtenberg | |