Universität zu Köln
Philosophische Fakultät

5th International Workshop on e-Social Science


Scientific Writing and New Forms of Scientific

Venue: Maternushaus, Cologne
Date: 24th June 2009

Workshop Organisers:
Prof Julian Newman, Glasgow Caledonian University
Esther Breuer, University of Cologne


Scientific writing is difficult to learn. In particular, the writer needs to learn to construct an
argument within the conventions of a discipline, balancing the need to show originality with the
need to ground the argument in a body of existing knowledge and relevance structures.

Recent controversies surrounding new methods of scholarly communication, exploiting so-called
“Web 2.0” technologies, implicitly raise issues concerning the need for science to be
communicated in multiple genres. New forms of communication for scientists, influenced by
“Web 2.0”, include specialised “social networking sites” – sometimes referred to as “MySpace
for Scientists” – which host blogs and discussion boards, and may support the setting up of
collaborations, “referral sites” which support the tagging of interesting items from the literature,
and/or online reference management, wikipedia-type secondary information sources and online
videos of experiments and/or visualised data. Scientists have always had informal registers for
“talking shop”, discriminable from the communications of the formal journal paper: the issue
inevitably arises, whether they now need to develop special writing or production skills for the
dissemination of ideas and results in new media.

The ideas of the Free Software movement and the Creative Commons attack upon the excesses
and perceived corporate abuses of Intellectual Property protection have given rise to the Open
Science movement. It is claimed that Open Science will facilitate massively distributed
collaboration by making clear accounts of the methodology, along with data and results extracted
therefrom, freely available on the internet. Science Commons, set up in 2005 under the aegis of
Creative Commons, aims at reusability of scientific research, simple access to research tools and
integration of fragmented information sources, arguing that failure to make sense of petabytes of
research data being produced around the world is the consequence of relative isolation of
scientists and “balkanization” of data.

The basic institutional assumption of the traditional scientific paper is that the method of
investigation should be fully and accurately described within the paper itself in sufficient detail
to enable a competent colleague to replicate the experiment, and that the data should be
presented in sufficient detail to enable the reader to judge the validity of the conclusions drawn
(and many journals also require the deposit of original data as a protection against fabrication of
results). From this point of view it might be presumed that the communication skills necessary
for Open Science are already inculcated in traditional scientific writing. A contrary view
suggests that the compressed style of the journal paper may act to exclude the majority of
potential readers from full understanding or serious evaluation of such publications, and that the
involvement of trained amateurs in scientific data collection and in the evaluation of theoretical
results ought to be encouraged. Thus the public should be engaged in science as practitioners
and not merely as recipients of pre-digested results.

Likely Participants:

Researchers in Composition, Scientific Communication, Science and Technology Studies,
Information Sciences, Philosophy of Science and Technology, Language Learning,
Computational Linguistics, Networked Learning, Virtual Communities.


Time Topic Presenter(s)
09:00-09:15 Welcome and Introduction Julian Newman,
Glasgow Caledonian University
09:15-10:45 Paper session 1  
  Impact of Web 2.0 on Scholarly
Rob Proctor, Alex Voss,
University of Manchester;
Robin Williams, James Stewart,
University of Edinburgh
  Discourse or Document? Issues of
adopting Emerging Digital Genres
for Scholarly Communication
Cornelius Puschmann, University of Duesseldorf
10:45-11:00 Coffee Break  
11:00-12:00 Paper session 2  
  Diary, Interview, Focus Group:
Research Methods to Reflect and
Document Writing Development
in University and Professional
Dr Kirsten Schindler, University of Cologne
  Writing for the web: the editor’s
point of view
Dr. Michael Kaiser, Bonn
12:00-12:45 Discussion Chaired by Esther Breuer, University of Cologne
12:45-13:00 Final remarks/future actions Julian Newman, Glasgow Caledonian University


Abstracts der verschiedenen Vorträge finden Sie hier.

Letzte Änderung: 02.07.2009