Between Uptake and Rigour - Dilemmas of Open Science

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk at conference or symposiumScience to science


In an attempt to further evidence-based policymaking, Open Science practices promise to facilitate the knowledge basis used for policymaking. In this paper, we focus on the uptake of scientific expertise in policymaking. In particular, we ask if and how Open Science promotes new ways to facilitate evidence-based policymaking. Answering our research question, we draw on a broader scope of literature on the evidence-policy gap (e.g. Tennant et al. 2106; Olesk et al. 2019). Here a number of key barriers has been identified. Most of all effective communication was found to be one of the most crucial factors of successful policy advice. However, recommendations that may be instructive on how to close the evidence-policy gap may compromise academic practices and cultures (Haynes 2012; Cairney 2016).
This observed dilemma raises deeper questions regarding the underlying differences between the policy domain and academia. Policy briefings need to be short, present numbers and statistics in order to influence policies. Yet, academic careers require outputs that follow a different type of criteria. These “epistemic cultures” are at odds with each other and lead to practical dilemmas faced by individual researchers (e.g. publishing academically with research conducted as advisory science and written in a more accessible language).
Exploring possible ways to overcome dilemmas of differing epistemic cultures we take a step back and ask for alternative ways of framing the relationship between of scientific knowledge production and policymaking. This may also reconsider prevailing expectations towards open science outputs awaiting successive uptake by policymakers.

The paper was presented at 4S/EASST - Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds, held remotely from 18-21 August 2020.
Period19 Aug 2020
Event titleEASST/4S 2020 conference: european association for the study of science and technology
Event typeConference
LocationPrag, Czech RepublicShow on map