What Counts as Scientific Data? A Relational Framework
Philosophy of Science: official journal of the Philosophy of Science Association
University of Chicago Press
Copyright 2015 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.
Reason for embargo
This paper proposes an account of scientific data that makes sense of recent debates on data-driven and 'big data' research, while also building on the history of data production and use particularly within biology. In this view, 'data' is a relational category applied to research outputs that are taken, at specific moments of inquiry, to provide evidence for knowledge claims of interest to the researchers involved. They do not have truth-value in and of themselves, nor can they be seen as straightforward representations of given phenomena. Rather, they are fungible objects defined by their portability and prospective usefulness as evidence.
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (project “Sciences of the Archive”)
European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)
Philosophy of Science, 2015, Vol. 82, No. 5, pp. 810-821