My Dissertation

Negotiating Open Science

I am conducting a qualitative study of the enactment of open science, exploring how different stakeholders in one open science platform, the Open Science Framework (OSF) approach the movement and the technology. Drawing on Giddens's structuration theory and Orlikowski's technologies-in-practice, I approach this work by considering an online platform for open science not as a static tool proffered by its developers, but as a dynamic product of many stakeholders' efforts to enact their scientific goals.

Many open science advocates seek to increase open behaviors by designing research tools with openness in mind. Prior research demonstrates that designing for behavior change can be successful, but it opens the door to conflict among stakeholders and the technology. Many researchers express agnosticism toward open science, citing concerns more pressing than the set of Mertonian norms that open science advocates suggest should be guiding research practice. Given that billions are invested in scientific research each year and that scientists stake their careers on being perceived as credible sources of information, it is important to understand how this change in science toward openness is produced and received.

I position the OSF platform as a site for stakeholders to negotiate open science practice and am using semi-structured interviews, observation and trace data analysis to study this negotiation. While I adopt a grounded theory approach to data analysis and thus I have no specific hypotheses, I expect my results to have implications for science policy, for open science advocates, and for developers of persuasive platforms.

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