Geni ribelli. La scienza aperta nell'immagine pubblica di due biologi

Alessandro Delfanti


Abstract: Open science is a form of knowledge production that relies on the open sharing of information through digital media. In this article I wonder which scientists’ cultural elements sustain new open science practices. Against the celebrations of the revival of a 20th century Mertonian ethos of disinterest, I suggest that an ethos of openness can include justifications related to sharing as well as features such as anti-bureaucracy rebellion, hedonism and search for profit. It is a recombination of the modern scientist’s ethos with cultural systems related to hacking and information technologies. To show this emergence and thus the importance of hacker cultures for contemporary societies, I studied the public images related to the establishing of two open access genetic databases, and in particular the two biologists who lead those projects: Ilaria Capua and Craig Venter. This recombination maintains an ambivalence: while both cases are geared against today’s incumbents’ concentration of power, the justificatory system they have in common does not exclude entrepreneurship and profit.

Keywords: open science; public communication of science; cultural studies; digital media; justificatory regimes.

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