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New developments in knowledge production


Admission requirements

Course 1, Science as culture (6420SCI13).


Big Data is the new buzzword. But what goes on behind the scenes of the creation of new data centres? To what extent are new developments in science driven by data floods? Can amateurs and citizens really participate in creative research with the help of the availability of new data sources in instruments and on the web?

This fifth module will look at the rise of computational data and methods in knowledge creation across all fields by analyzing current developments that may change the practice of research and scholarship in fundamental ways. The student will be confronted with different aspects of the process of informatization of what we will call knowledge production practices.

Specifically it builds on the previous modules by looking at the role of data and databases but specifically focus on the rise of ‘research infrastructures’. Research infrastructures vary to a large extent, from a single telescope to a distributed database for heritage science, but they are increasingly important in all disciplines (including the humanities).

In this course we will try to tease out the ways in which research infrastructures rose to prominence and how they influence knowledge production practices, specifically in relation to their influence on collaboration in and coordination of knowledge production processes.

Course objectives

After this course students will be able to:

  • Mention an example of e-science in respectively the sciences, social sciences, technical science and humanities, and discuss to what extent they change the way knowledge is created.

  • Classify at least 3 different forms of scientific collaboration and can summarize how they can be recognized empirically.

  • Explain how “research infrastructures” might be studied empirically.

  • Write a short paper on a particular aspect of the influence of research infrastructure on knowledge production practices.



The tutorial group meetings will each week discuss in-depth selected readings (posted on Blackboard), which all students must have read in advance. The lecturer will give a short introduction to the main topics of the readings of that week and give contextual information. The ensuing discussion is mainly aimed at deepening the student’s understanding of the underlying theoretical concepts and their relevance.

The tutorial group meetings are meant to help the students to translate the theoretical knowledge acquired in the classes to their own empirical research. Each week a particular assignment is given to support the learning curve in empirical research. In addition, we discuss the progress in all student projects when needed.

Assessment method

  • An empirical research paper about (a particular aspect of) the influence of new research infrastructures on knowledge production.


Is used for communication and dissemination of compulsory readings.

Reading list

Compulsory readings will be made available via blackboard or through the Leiden University Library.


Students can register from 1 May to 31 July via uSis. The course catalogue code is 6000MSCTSN, activity number: TBA.

Please note that we can accommodate a maximum of 40 students. Admission is based on the students’ qualifications + a first come, first served basis.

Students from other universities will need permission to register. Please send an e-mail to Josephine Bergmans via j.e.bergmans@cwts.leidenuniv.nl. This also applies to Exchange and Study Abroad students. For more general information for international students please see the Study Abroad website.

Contact information

For more information you can contact the minor coordinator Josephine Bergmans.