TU Berlin

Social Studies of Science and TechnologyResearch

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We are looking for explanations of phenomena in the knowledge production, i. e. the relationship between specific conditions, the mechanisms operating under these conditions and the effects produced by the mechanisms. The search for explanations currently focuses on the following phenomena:

1) Academic Careers

Quite a few young scientists have interrupted their careers by periods of unemployment. We want to find out how these time spans can be used for a continued research in different fields and under which conditions they are responsible for the termination of a career (Project FUFAF).

The scientists in the GDR were only partially integrated into their international specialist communities because of their inadequate resources and restrictions to access information, publications and international travel. In a retrospective analysis, we are looking into how these restrictions and their disappearance after German unification have shaped the careers of scientists (Project TRAVIDDR).

2) Field-specific research practices

We study the specifics and diversity of communication practices in the humanities and social sciences and therefore examine the publications of two disciplines (art history and international relations) in two countries in order to analyze their reciprocal reference (Project KIGS).

Failure - i.e. not achieving the results the researchers were aiming for - is a constant companion of research. At the same time, intensifying competition in scientific communities and increasing external evaluations put increasing pressure on researchers to succeed, while scientific communities and research policy increasingly address the negative consequences of suppressing risky research and publications about failures.

Against this background, we investigate field-specific forms of scientific failure, their consequences for the research biographies of scientists and for the knowledge production of their communities. (Project FEM)

3) Influence of governance on the content of research

We use a case study of mobile software development as an example for a project on interdependent innovation to detect how the governance of such platforms and the specific interdependencies between platforms and applications foster or inhibit innovation.

In an interdisciplinary collaboration project on the independence of research, we examine how its conditions are changing and what kind of consequences this may have for the content of research (Project InRes).

4) The entanglement of individual and collective phenomena in the knowledge production

In their careers, researchers realize sequences of thematically connected research projects that are influenced by their and contribute to the knowledge dynamics of this scientific community. We are looking for bibliometric methods to support the analysis of this interdependence (Project MiMaL).

In the investigation of field-specific practices of dealing with scientific failure, individual and collective phenomena of knowledge production of scientific communities are also intertwined. The project FEM (see above, point 2) therefore investigates effects of failure both on the level of individual research biographies and on the basis of the reception of unsuccessful research in the scientific communities (Project FEM).

5) Changes in research practices in response to the pandemic

We ask how changing expectations and conditions of research that emerged in response to the pandemic affect research practices and academic careers (Project PanInRes).


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