How do we define "science" for the purposes of this site?

+4 votes
177 views
asked Aug 5, 2015 in Meta by Thomas (915 points)

The title of the site is "Open Science". How does the site define "science" and is such a definition important for describing and managing the site?

Science is sometimes used to mean a method of inquiry (as in the scientific method), but it also can carry a connotation of describing only certain disciplines (e.g., "science" versus "social science"). Does "open science" refer to specific methods or disciplines?

Digital humanities is likely to have a lot in common with open science, but it is neither explicitly open nor necessarily science. Does open science have a broadly encompassing scope that would include this or does it leave out non-scientific approaches and/or non-scientific disciplines?



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3 Answers

+4 votes
answered Aug 5, 2015 by Daniel Standage (420 points)

I would argue for being inclusive of any discipline that uses a rigorous intellectual framework for analyzing empirical data and (possibly) drawing drawing conclusions from those data. By this definition, I think digital humanities and social sciences would be welcome in the discussion. Other disciplines like philosophy and theology may indeed have rigorous intellectual frameworks, but don't seem to involve any data analysis (or if they do, it seems to be more applied social science).



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+3 votes
answered Aug 5, 2015 by a1an (50 points)

Instead of defining the term science alone, I think it would be better to address directly what we mean with "Open science", which might be applicable to a subset of science or define some independent concepts. There is already a Wikipedia definition for it. So the discussion would be about that and we should also draw from and contribute to the page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_science



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+3 votes
answered Aug 8, 2015 by Daniel Mietchen (1,165 points)

One definition of Open Science (or Open Research, which tend to be used interchangeably) that I like is "the concept of scientists sharing their research with the world as soon as they record it for themselves." I would thus welcome any contributions following that paradigm or striving for it, anywhere along the research cycle and in any discipline of systematic inquiry.

Realizing that this would be a rather small community, I think it makes sense to include any sharing of process or results that occurs earlier than through formal publications.

In any case, compliance with the Open Definition is key.



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