Waag's Open Wetlab will attend the Joint Research Council of the European Commission event about “DIY-science: the challenges of Quality” on 16th and 17th June in Ispra, Italy. Pieter van Boheemen will give advice about citizen science, DIY-Bio, makers, hackers, and everything in between.
Growing interest in DIY-science
DIY-science encompasses a wide variety of people—variously described as 'amateur,' 'garage,' 'citizen,' 'extreme citizen,' and 'activist.' Although small and marginal at the moment, they—along with their challenges to mainstream science—will surely grow.
There will be problems to be resolved as established science (with its accredited status) loses its monopoly on providing knowledge and advice. But these challenges should also produce new ways of thinking and new practices, enriching science as a whole when the two sides interact.
There are also internal challenges to DIY-science. Salient among these is the quality assurance of scientific production. Up until now, this has been supported by rigid structures of status that determine who is entitled to be recognized as a 'scientist.' Such status is required to gain access to the resources that support both research and publication. The system is designed, in part, to protect science against the worst excesses of fraud and charlatanism.
Within the new and untested social practices of DIY-science—absent from established institutions of status—quality assurance will need to be reconstructed. There is a new ethic for knowledge in open communities that has been well described as 'creative commons.' But this format would need to be adapted to the world of discovery, which is somewhat different from that of invention.
The proposed workshop will enlist a group of scholars and activists who are committed to the discussion of these important issues: both the interactions with established science and the quality assurance of DIY-science.
The workshop will be organised in a mix of formats including: speakers, panels, and open discussions to respond to emerging questions as we go along.