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Public Communication of Science and Technology


Open Science
On the effects of the digital revolution

Martina Franzen  

Dr. Martina Franzen WZB Berlin Social Science Center Research Group Science Policy Studies Reichpietschufer 50 D-10785 Berlin Tel: +49 30 25491 157 Email: martina.franzen@wzb.eu Abtract The aim of this paper is to propose an analytical framework to study the transformations of science in the light of digitalization. Based on sociological considerations, this paper argues that the shift from the print to the digital age has indeed revolutionary effects which are not limited to science communication but which affect the state of knowledge production itself. To offer a broad picture of the ongoing changes in the science system, the conceptual study compares recent changes in scholarly communication with the advent of the first scientific revolution triggered by the invention of printing technologies and the foundation of academic journals. Focusing on the scientific publication as the core element of science, we can identify at least four areas where science is affected by the digital shift: publication forms, distribution channels, evaluation criteria and certification authorities. The argument to be developed is that the digitalization of science implies structural transformations within the construed boundary of science and non-science becomes obsolete. In contrast to the democratization of science as the desired goal perpetuated by the Open Science Movement, the degree of social robustness of scientific findings might eclipse further. The thesis runs that Science 2.0 ('Open Science', respectively), might come with the side-effect that epistemic criteria lose their scientific empowerment in behalf of popularity (Franzen 2015). Above all, the digitalization of science foster (self-)marketing strategies gearing towards the widest possible dissemination and highest attention rate. Publicity in this sense can coincide with scientific utility but not necessarily. Moreover, the digital shift seems to boost the unintended consequences which are already exposed by the concept of "medialization" with regards to the mass media (Franzen et al. 2012). References Franzen, Martina (2015): Der Impact Faktor war gestern. Altmetrics und die Zukunft der Wissenschaft. Themenheft: Der impact des impact factors, Soziale Welt 66 (2), S. 225-242. Franzen, Martina; Rödder, Simone; Weingart, Peter (2012): Introduction: Exploring the impact of science communication on scientific knowledge production. In: Rödder, Simone; Franzen, Martina; Weingart, Peter (eds.): The Sciences' Media Connection - Communication to the Public and its Repercussions. Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook 28: Dordrecht et al.: Springer, pp. 3-14.

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