Bruno J. Strasser

BSUniversity of Geneva
Yale University

The “Data Deluge” : The Production of Scientific Knowledge in the 21st Century
Thursday 20 February 2014, 09:30-10:30am, Amphimax 414

The notions of “data deluge” and “big data” have taken a firm hold in current discourses about science and society. They serve to define a new era in the history of science where data is more abundant than ever before and knowledge is directly derived from data. But as several scholars have pointed out, there have been many precedent to the current “data deluge”. And each era has devised its own material and social technologies to store, organize, and make sense of overwhelming amounts of data. By opening a dialogue about the past, present, and future of data, one can better distinguish what is new and what is not in today’s “data deluge”. Looking at the long tradition of collecting, comparing, classifying, and computing data, it becomes possible to reassess our current models of what knowledge is, how it is produced, to whom it belongs and who should get credit for producing it. Instead of debating superficial claims about the revolutionary nature of “big data”, one can get a deeper understanding of present debates about access, ownership, and authorship in science.