Computerization Movements and Scientific Disciplines: The Reflexive Potential of New Technologies

Computerization Movements and Scientific Disciplines: The Reflexive Potential of New Technologies

Christine Hine (University of Surrey, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-717-1.ch002
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Abstract

This chapter examines some of the factors which help to create a momentum for developing new infrastructures for scientific research. Specifically it discusses the usefulness of the ‚Äúcomputerization movement‚ÄĚ perspective for understanding how innovations in scientific practice catch on and to what effect, arguing that we need to understand the role that wider cultural perceptions about the potential of new technologies play in shaping high level policy and day-to-day practice in science. A case study to develop this point is drawn from one scientific discipline, biological systematics. Examination of a recent policy document suggests that a computerization movement is in progress in this discipline, accompanied by a variety of strategic responses. It can be seen that a computerization movement in science can not only stimulate particular forms of technical activity, but also provide the occasion for focused discussions on the directions, goals and audiences for a discipline.

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