Open Science in Practice: STS approaches to open cultures in research

The following paper by Katja Mayer and Eduard Aibar has just been published:

Mayer, K. and E. Aibar. 2016. “Open Science in Practice: STS approaches to open cultures in research”. EASST Review. Vol. 35, N. 4; pp. 135-138.

This work summarizes the papers and discussions at the conference track on Open Science that was held in the Society for Social Studies of Science/European Association for the Study of Science and Technology Conference, Barcelona, August 31-September 3, 2016. This is the abstract:

Open Science (OS) is currently regarded as the next ‘big thing’ in European science policy and elsewhere (Mayer 2015; Levin et al. 2016). It is broadly defined as science that is transparent, accountable, and shareable, involving the participation of (all) relevant stakeholders in the scientific process. Policy visions do not only highlight the transformative powers of OS in regard to research culture, they are also setting high expectations in regard to creation of economic growth, new jobs and innovation opportunities. In practice, tensions are emerging in how OS is enacted and governed by scientific communities, science policy organisations, funding bodies, the publishing industry, and science-related institutions, with diverse uptakes of commons, knowledge sharing, democratisation of technology, participatory design, hacking etc.


This conference track invited participants to explore OS from an STS perspective and to discuss what STS can bring into the broader discussion of OS, e.g. by studying institutionalizations of OS, appropriations of OS within prevailing traditional epistemic culture, or how OS is co-shaped by negotiation processes promoted by different stakeholders. Presentations covered socio-technical dimensions of openness in sciences – including the social sciences and humanities. There was less discussion of the “sticks and carrots” (Leonelli et al. 2015) or the perceived benefits to researchers, research organisations and funding agents of utilising open scientific methods, the “disincentives and barriers, and the degree to which there is evidence to support these perceptions” (Whyte & Pryor 2011) – though one of the papers remarked how pressures on scientists to collaborate with industry and commercialize their work, within the framework of open innovation, can work against policy expectations to share research data and results [Sánchez-Jiménez/Aibar]. The aim of the conference track was therefore not to gain consensus over how to define open science in research practice, nor to reach a conclusion on how STS should approach these matters. On the contrary it was an attempt to grasp the multitude of enactments of openness and approaches to study it without being normative about its valuation.

Informe final del projecte Viquipèdia i Ciència

Ahir, 4 d’octubre vam presentar públicament a la UOC els resultats del nostre projecte de recerca ‘Anàlisi del contingut científic de la Viquipèdia en espanyol”, amb el suport de la FECYT.




Aquí us podeu descarregar l’informe final del projecte:

Análisis del contenido científico de la Wikipedia  en español


Vam presentat també una Guia, orientada a científics i centres de recerca, per a editar el contingut científic de Viquipèdia:

Guia de recomanacions i bones pràctiques per a editar el contingut científic de Viquipèdia

Guía de recomendaciones y buenas prácticas para editar el contenido científico de Wikipedia



Acte de presentació pública del resultats del projecte de recerca “Anàlisi del contingut científic de la Viquipèdia en espanyol”

Lloc: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Sala Tony Bates (al hall de l’edifici). Av. Tibidabo 39. 08035 Barcelona

Dia i hora: Dimarts 4 d’octubre de 2016. De 12.30 a 14h.



12.30 Obertura: Marta Aymerich. Vicerectora de Recerca de la UOC.

12.40 Roderic Guigó. Investigador i Group Leader al Centre de Regulació Genòmica.

12.50 Àlex Hinojo. Membre d’Amical Wikimedia.

13.00 Eduard Aibar. Professor dels Estudis d’Arts i Humanitats de la UOC i director del projecte.

13.30 Torn obert d’intervencions i preguntes.

14.00 Cloenda


L’assistència a l’acte és lliure.


Eduard Aibar presentarà els principals resultats del projecte de recerca “Anàlisi del contingut científic de la Viquipèdia en espanyol”, finançat per la Fundació Espanyola per a la Ciència i la Tecnologia i desenvolupat per membres del grup de recerca sobre Open Science & Innovation ( de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Maura Lerga, Josep Lladós, Antoni Meseguer, Julià Minguillon i Peter Dunajcsik). L’objectiu general de l’estudi ha estat dur a terme una anàlisi exhaustiva del contingut científic de la versió  espanyola de Viquipèdia. El projecte s’ha desenvolupat al voltant de quatre eixos: (1) l’anàlisi de la qualitat del contingut científic de la Wikipedia espanyola; (2) un estudi de la presència de la ciència espanyola a Viquipèdia; (3) l’estudi dels editors i del procés d’edició dels articles en temes de ciència; i (4) una anàlisi del tractament de temes controvertits en ciència i tecnologia a la Viquipèdia. Finalment, fruit de l’estudi, s’ha dissenyat també una “Guia de recomanacions i bones pràctiques per a editar el contingut científic de Viquipèdia” orientada a científics, centres de recerca, universitats i societat científiques.





Advantages of doing Wikipedia assignments rather than traditional term papers

The Wiki Education Foundation has just published a list of Five reasons a Wikipedia assignment is better than a term paper. The five reasons are:


  1. People read it
  2. Students have to think twice
  3. A term paper is rarely a force for good in the world
  4. Wikipedia has real and fascinating flaws
  5. The technology is just about the same


The text confirms some of the points we made in our Best Practice Guide to Use Wikipedia in University Education, by Maura Lerga and Eduard Aibar You can also read the Guide in Spanish and Catalan.

OSI project awarded FECYT funding

The Analysis of the scientific content of the Spanish Wikipedia project presented by the IN3’s Open Science and Innovation (OSI) research group has been selected to receive funding from the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT -Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology-) call for grant applications to promote the culture of science, technology and innovation.

The aim of the project is to carry out exhaustive analysis of the scientific content of the Wikipedia – in other words, the subsection of articles dealing with science and technology (approximately 10% of the 1.15 million articles in the Spanish version). The study is based on the realization that the Wikipedia has become the leading platform for public communication of science on the web.

The analysis is based on 4 factors.

1) The quality of the articles, depending, principally, on the number of edits and the quality of the bibliographic references.

2) The correspondence between the areas best represented and Spanish scientific output.

3) Studying the editors and the editing process.

4) Science and technology’s image through analysis of controversial subjects.

The researchers forming part of the project team are Eduard Aibar (lead researcher), Josep Lladós, Antoni Meseguer, Julià Minguillon, Maura Lerga and Peter Dunajcsik/Maxigas. The project’s research is to run from September 2014 to December 2015.