New article in STS journal by Sally Wyatt, Anna Harris and Susan Kelly

The journal ‘Science & Technology Studies‘ is publishing a series of special issues about knowledge infrastructures, edited by Helena Karasti, Florence Millerand, Christine Hine, and Geoffrey Bowker. The first of the series includes an article by Sally Wyatt, Anna Harris (both FASoS) and Susan Kelly (Exeter) called ‘Controversy goes online: Schizophrenia genetics on Wikipedia’.

An earlier version of this article was discussed at the STS summer harvest, so we’re very grateful to our Maastricht colleagues for their help in getting this published.

Abstract: Scientific controversy is increasingly played out via the internet, a technology that is simultaneously content, medium and research infrastructure. Here we analyse material from Wikipedia, focusing on schizophrenia genetics. We find that citation and curation of scientific resources follow a negotiated, ad hoc adherence to Wikipedia rules, are based on limited access to scientific literature, and thus lead to a partially constructed ‘review’ of the science that excludes non-professionals. Given its policies and systems for developing neutral, evidence-based articles, one would not expect to find controversy on Wikipedia, yet we find traces. Scientific ambiguity about schizophrenia genetics lends itself to multiple ways of curating resources, and the infrastructure of online spaces enables the practices behind curation work to become visible in new ways. We argue that not only does Wikipedia make scientific controversy visible to a wider range of people, it is also involved in the production of knowledge.

The journal is available in the library, under its old name of ‘Science Studies’. It will also be completely open access, a few months after publication. Members of EASST should already have received their password for immediate access.

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