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DS² 2021: Call for Papers

Digital Studies of Digital Science, March 15–18, 2021

Abstracts due: January 31, 2021

We are excited to announce the call for papers for the closing conference of our FNRS MIS Grant: Digital Studies of Digital Science (DS²). Our aim in hosting this meeting is to bring together scholars working on two separate trends. First, the products of science themselves have increasingly become digital – from big data produced in laboratory contexts to the increasingly dominant roles of social media and preprints in the dissemination of results. Second, the methods that we use to study those products have also become digitized – scholars including philosophers, historians, linguists, and sociologists have turned to tools like network and citation analysis, textual analysis (and other tools of the digital humanities), and modeling and simulation, in our attempts to understand science and its changes over time. Both of these shifts have made a substantial impact on the epistemic landscape of science, and are in the process of reshaping the philosophy of science in particular and science studies more generally.

What has been lacking, we think, is the opportunity for dialogue between these two groups of researchers. On the one hand, meta-level claims about digital methods in science should equally well apply to cases where these methods are used in the humanities. And conversely, those interested in the epistemic characteristics of these digital methods in general should be able to learn from instances of their application in the humanities as well. We thus hope to put these two groups in dialogue, looking for new insights and modes of research enabled by our digital study of digital scientific products.


The conference will take place, virtually, from March 15–18, 2021. Talks will take place in the afternoon/evening Europe time, or the morning North-America time, spread over four days, in a hopeful effort to combat Zoom fatigue.

We are extremely excited to provisionally confirm the following four keynote speakers:

  • Katy Börner, Victor H. Yngve Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Information Science, Founding Director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, Indiana University (USA)
  • Susan Hunston, Professor of English Language, Department of English Language and Linguistics, University of Birmingham (UK)
  • Sabina Leonelli, Professor of Philosophy and History of Science, Co-Director, Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences (Egenis), University of Exeter (UK)
  • Christophe Malaterre, Professeur, Département de philosophie, Université du Québec à Montréal (CA)

We believe that the broad interests of our speakers – including expertise in scientometrics, digital humanities, linguistics, history and philosophy of science, and network analysis – perfectly captures the broad and interdisciplinary spirit of the meeting, and we thank all four for their willingness to participate!

Prof. Börner
Prof. Hunston
Prof. Leonelli
Prof. Malaterre

Accepted contributions to the conference will be given the opportunity to publish their work in a special issue of a journal (arrangements ongoing, with a very strong preference on the part of the organizers for open access).

We are monitoring the pandemic situation closely, and should conditions improve between now and then, we would like to offer a companion workshop in Belgium for discussion and commentary on drafts to appear in the special issue. Planning for this workshop will only commence after abstracts for it are accepted and we have confirmed that the health situation permits such a workshop.


We welcome submissions from any discipline which might plausibly touch on the theme that we have described here. Scholars need not be working on the intersection of digital methods and digital products – just on one theme or the other, with an interest in the interdisciplinary overlap between the two.

If you would like to submit, please send a title and an abstract (at least 200, but not more than 1,000 words) to our submissions site (hosted by the Microsoft Conference Management Toolkit) by January 31, 2021. Decisions on abstracts will be returned no later than February 15.

The submission site can be found here: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/DS22021/

You will need to create an account on this site (it’s free) and upload your abstract, either as plain text, or as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file. For more information about how to use the site, please visit the Help Center for authors.

We look forward to hearing from you! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to send us an e-mail: charles.pence@uclouvain.be

The conference chairs,
Charles Pence and Luca Rivelli