Conference series by Peter Weingart

Peter Weingart, Professor Emeritus in Sociology of Science at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), was hosted for one month late 2013 by IFRIS and the LATTS, in the context of an invitation campaign financed by the Université Paris-Est. During his stay in Paris, Peter Weingart gave three lectures on the following topics:

Inaugural conference: “The future of the scientific communication system”

See the presentation.

Mutual interactions and influences between digitalization of information processing, the economically driven concentration of the scientific publishing industry, and the introduction of an evaluation system monitoring the achievements of scientists and their institutions, based on mostly bibliometric data. It can be shown that these developments partly reinforce each other to the detriment of the free flow of scientific information. Solutions such as the drive for ‘open access’ are pushed by certain disciplines and are resisted by others. The problem of quality assurance (peer review) remains unsolved.

Second conference: “Scientific advice to policymaking”

See the paper.

This seminar discussed the intricacies of scientists giving advice to policymakers in the executive and legislature. It has presented different abstract models of such advisory functions and confronted them with concrete arrangements and their specific problems.

Third conference: “Science, the public and the media: communication on/of science in democratic societies”

See the text and the presentation.

In our societies the dependency on scientific knowledge has grown steadily so that the communication of such knowledge to the broader public is important for two reasons. Much of this knowledge affects individuals’ lives directly or indirectly and thus requires their understanding and critical engagement, and, second, it involves their attitudes as source of political legitimacy. The media have the function to communicate the developments in science (and technology) and to form public opinion about them. However, they have become primarily economic enterprises oriented to profit-making. Likewise, science has come under the pressures of competition for public attention. The result is a deterioration of the quality of communication.

Conference series by Peter Weingart