Charlotte Lee

Winter 2020

Reading Group on Data-Centric Approaches and the Changing Practices and Cultures of Science 

Co-directed by Will Sutherland, PhD Student and Charlotte P. Lee, Associate Professor

We will be reading Sabina Leonelli’s excellent book on Data-Centric Biology: A Philosophical Study. Science and its relation to data is co-evolving with the proliferation and increasing convergence of digital technologies. Those of us who are interested in helping develop information infrastructures, for science and for other areas of endeavor, are faced not only with changing practices and technologies “on the ground” but also a larger cultural shift taking place in organizations and institutions. This book will help us to think about new data and technology practices in the context of changing organizations and institutions. While the book focuses on biology and life sciences, many of the concerns and issues presented are applicable to a wide variety of information infrastructures.

The book addresses key concerns: what now counts as data; existing conceptions of the role and use of evidence in the life sciences and elsewhere; what counts as scientific knowledge at a time of significant technological and institutional change; how this relates to the social worlds within which data are produced, circulated, and used; and under which conditions large datasets can and should be organized and interpreted in order to generate knowledge.

This is a 1 credit DRG. We will read 1 chapter per week. Each chapter is about 20-25 pages. The book has many rich ideas but is also very readable. Students are welcome to bring in additional relevant readings to the group.

The approximate schedule is as follows:

  • Weeks 1: Introduction
  • Week 2-8: Discuss each chapter, one at a time. One designated person will summarize. Everyone brings 2 questions for discussion.
  • Weeks 9: Discussion
  • Weeks 10: Write a 1-page reflection to share.

We are looking for motivated group members to join us for Winter 2020 quarter. This DRG is geared towards MS and PhD students but BS Students may be admitted with instructor approval. Participants in this research group will enroll for 1 credit (CR/NC) unless with special permission from the instructor through HCDE 596 (for graduate students) or HCDE 496 (for undergraduate students). We will meet for 50 minutes once per week. Meeting time is TBD and will be scheduled for the convenience of all participants. Please email Prof. Lee at no later than Monday, December 30 at 5pm stating any relevant background and what your interest is in joining.

Dr. Lee's Research Group archive