Petra Schaper-Rinkel (31.08.2013): Contested Futures of Science and Knowledge Production. Scientific Research between Conflicting Trends and Drivers, Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA) “Crisis, Critique and Change« Turin, Italy, 28-31 August, 2013
This paper examines some of the main trends and changes that are likely to affect science and knowledge production over the next decades. We first analyse main dimensions of change where developments take place which affect the dynamics of science. We then explore the tensions and paradoxes that arise during the ongoing transformation of scientific research as researchers and research organizations try to meet very different and sometimes conflicting objectives. Current research practices generate new kinds of data (e.g. participatory sensing) and research involves more and more actors as everyone is producing digital data everywhere that can be used for research (e.g. using mobile phone data for urban planning). The traditional scope of stakeholders is expanding to include citizens, patients and volunteers in conservation issues as well as a range of providers of online-platforms and research related services. Tensions are likely to arise between strategies to promote open access on the one hand and the significant market power of the main publishers and their databases used by science policy to measure the output of research and to determine funding on the other hand. The potential of research digitalization to impact science is huge; by changing research practices, changing ways of communicating and publishing research results and by challenging institutions and regulatory regimes that are established within national or transnational boundaries. Based on the results of the EU project “Research and Innovation Futures 2030: From explorative to transformative scenarios”, the paper examines the main dimensions of change, its implications, and the tensions arising.