On the Philosophy of Open Science

By Michael A. Peters.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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This paper arises out of a keynote presentation given at the inaugural Science in Society conference at the University of Cambridge, 5-7 August, 2009. It emerges from some thinking about the nature of openness as a philosophical concept that I develop in a book called The Virtues of Openness: Education, Science and Scholarship in the Digital Age co-authored with Peter Roberts (Paradigm Press, 2009). In terms of my current thinking philosophy of open science rests on seven propositions. I state them baldly here without justification or argument. They are, if you will, ‘observations’ or working hypotheses to be confirmed (or falsified). Each of these propositions has a complex and contested history in philosophy and science and the aim of this paper is to scope the philosophy of open science rather than to defend seven these propositions.
The first part of the paper discusses narratives of openness, focusing on the major philosophical conceptions as they have been developed by Bergson, Popper (Hayek, Soros), Wittgenstein and Eco, teasing out the significance of a Wittgensteinian view of open science. The next section foregrounds ‘technologies of openness’ and their relations to scientific communication before highlighting ‘open science’ as an aspect of an emergent global science system.

Keywords: Open Science

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.171-198. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.529MB).

Prof. Michael A. Peters

Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, Chicago, IL, USA

Michael A. Peters is professor of education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and adjunct professor in the School of Art at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia. He previously held a personal chair at Auckland University and position as research professor at the University of Glasgow. He has held positions as visiting professor in over twenty universities around the world. He is the editor of Educational Philosophy and Theory (Wiley-Blackwell), Policy Futures in Education, E-Learning and Science in Society. His interests are in education, philosophy and science, and he is currently interested in distributed knowledge systems and open education, science and publishing. His most recent books include: Creativity and the Global Knowledge Economy (with P. Murphy & S. Marginson) (Peter Lang, 2009); Global Knowledge Cultures (Sense, 2008) (with C. Kapitzke); Building Knowledge Cultures: Educational and Development in the Age of Knowledge Capitalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), (with Tina Besley); and Knowledge Economy, Development and the Future of the University (Sense, 2007). He was elected a lifelong fellow by the New Zealand Academy of Humanities in 2008.