Date(s) - 05/06/2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


3910 15th Ave NE
Seattle WA

*** Due to precautions being taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, this event will be held over Zoom on Wednesday, May 6th from 4:00-5:00 PM. Please register HERE and you will be sent a link to join in advance of the event. ***


As part of the Data Then and Now seminar series, Luis Reyes-Galindo from Cardiff University will be presenting a lecture on the topic of openness in physics and danger of outsider interpretations titled “Outsider interpretations of open scientific data and their impact on policy.” Please join us on May 6th, 2020 from 4:00-5:00 PM in the Seminar Room of the WRF Data Science Studio.

Throughout the science-policymaking landscape, ‘open’ has become a ubiquitous buzzword. After decades of political work to make open access the de jure standard for publicly-funded science, alongside the growing visibility of open and citizen science initiatives, open data is poised as the next big step in ‘opening up’ and accelerating science. Major initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud, tied to a policy objective clearly aiming to ‘democratize’ science thoroughly, forecast a potential policy landscape of compulsorily open publicly-funded research data in the near future. In this talk I will argue that in order to understand the possible benefits (and drawbacks) of such open data initiatives, a deeper reflection is needed on what ought to be regarded as unambiguously legitimate interpretations of scientific data. To this end, I will present a controversial episode in gravitational wave physics to show the potential pitfalls of leaving data open to interpretation by outsiders to the scientific communities where the data is created. I will argue that without a proper understanding of consensus and dissent in science and what gives scientific interpretations their socio-epistemic legitimacy, outsider interpretations can have serious policy implications and further undermine scientific work of grave importance in the current environment of ‘post truth’ permeating politics worldwide.

Luis Reyes-Galindo is a sociologist of science currently working as an independent scholar in Mexico. He is an honorary fellow at Cardiff University’s School of Social Science and a founding Editorial Team member of the journal Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society. His main interests are the socio-economics of open access, the sociology of physics and intercultural models of science communication.

The Data Then and Now seminar series explores the social and organizational history of data and data practices in order to better understand the current data-intensive moment through its antecedents and continuities. It features invited speakers from across the country and around the world. For more information, please visit the Data Then and Now web page.