User-led science

Su JCOM abbiamo lanciato una call for articles. Si cercano contributi sulla scienza dal basso ai tempi della rete: si può fare? Funziona? Il web allarga la partecipazione? E chi si appropria della conoscenza prodotta dagli utenti di internet? Vorremmo evitare di fare un’apologia della democrazia online e della produzione p2p, per cui sono ben accetti contributi critici e analisi che scavano un po’ sotto alla crosta modaiola del web 2.0. Ecco la call:

User-led Science – A special issue of JCOM

Science is increasingly being produced, discussed and deliberated with cooperative tools by web users and without the istitutionalized presence of scientists. "Popular science" or "Citizen science" are two of the traditional ways of defining science grassroots produced outside the walls of laboratories. But the internet has changed the way of collecting and organising the knowledge produced by people – peers – who do not belong to the established scientific community. In this issue we want to discuss:

– How web tools are changing and widening this way of participating in the production of scientific knowledge. Do this increase in participation consist in a real shift towards democratizing science or on the contrary is merely a rhetoric which do not affect the asymmetrical relationships between citizens and institutions?

– The ways in which both academic and private scientific institutions are appropriating this knowledge and its value. Do we need a new model to understand these ways of production and appropriation? Are they part of a deeper change in productive paradigms?

We would like to collect both theoretical contributions and research articles which address for example case studies in social media and science, peer production, the role of private firms in exploiting web arenas to collect scientific/medical data from their costumers, online social movements challenging communication incumbents, web tools for development.

Interested authors should submit an extended abstract of no more than 500 words (in English) to the issue editor by May 15, 2009. We will select three to five papers for inclusion in this special issue. Abstracts should be sent to the JCOM’s editorial office (

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