New Currents in Science: The Challenges of Quality

Ispra, Italy, 3-4 March 2016

Each sector of science now has distinct challenges of quality. For scientific research, it is reproducibility; for application, consequences; for science advice, acceptability; and for the autonomous ‘citizen’ and ‘DIY’ sciences, governance.
The workshop, organized by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, considered current challenges to quality assurance in science and their effects on the trustworthiness of science, as knowledge, in applications and in policy. The challenges originate from the previous transformation from community-based ‘little’ science to industrial-scale ‘big’ science, which had effects on research-incentives and thus commitment and morale.
The present transformation, that we call ‘information-age’ science, has enabled new social practices and sources of commitment to emerge, both within and outside of established science, that offer new ways of resolving the challenges of quality assurance.

  1. For those involved in maintaining existing streams of production, application and advice, some key questions are: By what methodologies could the existing institutions accommodate to the new tendencies, for their mutual benefit?
  2. By what means, including dialogues and participation, could the new forms of practice be guided in the development of appropriate quality procedures?
The workshop was devoted to a review of these new tendencies, and to communication among them, exploring amongst others, how the insights of Post-Normal Science can contribute to their understanding and way out.  The scientific committee was integrated by Alice Benessia, Anne Blanchard, Bruna De Marchi, Silvio Funtowicz, Mario Giampietro, Ângela Guimarães Pereira, Zora Kovacic, Simon Meisch, Jerome Ravetz, Andrea Saltelli, Roger Strand, Jeroen van der Sluijs. The meeting gathered participants coming from a variety of regions and institutions , who actively participated in vivid conversations and debates. Cecilia Hidalgo presented and  discussed a work titled ‘From truth to credibility: changes in environmental knowledge authoritativeness’ in a session devoted to the issue "Quality assurance by extended peer review".

Link of the workshop: