In my talk I want to show how the notion of open science can be thought sociologically. Open science can be located on two different social levels: On the one hand, it is a structural and macrosociological phenomenon. For example, the structure of markets connected to scientific research (publisher markets, software markets, data markets, conference markets, etc.) can be open or closed. Another example (one, we often forget) is the social structure of science. We know that inmany countries academia socially reproduces itself and that science is structurally closed to certain social groups (e.g. women, ethnic minorities, working class members).
On the other hand, open science can also be understood on a microsociological level. It includes certain research practices and a specific epistemic culture, understood as “those amalgams of arrangements and mechanisms–bonded through affinity, necessity, and historical incidence–which [...] make up how we know what we know.” (Knorr Cetina 1999:1; original emphasis). On a microsociological level, researchers enact and perform open science. For example, they develop certain practices of valuing good or bad results; of assessing good or bad methods; of giving credit to colleagues; of teaching knowledge to younger scholars; or of producing, archiving and sharing data. Depending on how these practices are performed, they may support or restrain the idea of open science. Recent data gathered in laboratory studies show that even researchers who are willingto change their epistemic culture toward open science are confronted with various uncertainties, risks, and opposing interests.
Based on these differentiations, my main argument is that it is (more or less) easy to build the structures of open science – in some countries this is already on a good way. But on the microsociological level of epistemic cultures, it is still an utopia.
In addition to that, I argue that increased openness and freedom always goes along with an inc