About the Conference


Openness - the honest and transparent communication of research methods and results - has been a central cornerstone of research since the early days. In this increasingly data-intensive era, the openness is facing new challenges, however. The methods for data collection, retrieval, analysis, and communication rely on increasingly complex devices, techniques, and automation. Whereas information processing and communication technologies are creating new opportunities for conducting and communicating research, the requirements for openness are also evolving.

The open science movement emphasizes the openness of research in our changing society. Whereas open access to research results at all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional, is one important aspect, access to data, methods, peer review, and intermediate outcomes such as grant proposals or research notebooks are also often discussed in this context. But what is the overall significance of this movement for research in general and what are, if any, the historical roots and varieties of this movement? This conference brings together contemporary open science advocates and scholars in order to offer an a coherent narrative from Aristotle to digital era.

Different historical periods offer new insights into the research process and concepts of authorship, publication, and access to knowledge. In Classical Antiquity, the works of Aristotle were collected and edited in a format that worked as a (open) source of debates and commentaries in the centuries that followed. In the medieval period, some works (like the Summa Halensis) displayed the intent of a collaborative project and translation centers (like Toledo), which were created with the explicit purpose of making available Greek and Arabic works to the Latin West. Public debates were part of university activities and works were often conceived as individual anonymous contributions to communitary reflection in the true spirit of open source. From our modern perspective, reflecting on such practices will give new insight into how openness has always been an integral part of the scientific endeavour, and how the contemporary challenges can be viewed against the historical perspective.

The sessions of this two-day conference are built around particular themes relevant to openness in contemporary research practice, including reproducibility, transparency, politics of science, and other topics as well as their historical roots. The aim is to learn from both historical and contemporary views to gain a deeper understanding of the concept, significance and challenges of openness, and a broader perspective on these issues.

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