An evidence-based framework for the normative macrostudy of science

Start - End 
2014 - 2017 (ongoing)
Department of Philosophy and moral sciences
Research Focus 
Research Period 



Half of the papers ever published were written after the year 2000. To keep track of this explosive growth of science, policymakers are increasingly forced to rely on scientometric indicators. This has prompted acute concerns about the legitimacy of citations and related measures such as the impact factor and the H-index as evaluative standards for science. Philosophy of science, traditionally in charge of the normative study of the methods and goals of science, has been unable to provide normative guidance because its focus is on the intrinsic properties *of* the carriers of knowledge, while scientometric data is about the relations *between* them. As such philosophy of science has remained locked out from what has quickly become the single largest source of empirical data about its object of study. A famous exception is Thomas Kuhn, who explained the success of science not by the properties of its parts but by the evolution of its structure. Unlike traditional philosophy of science this allows to integrate scientometric data within the framework of Kuhn’s normative study of science. This prospect was explicitly anticipated by Kuhn but technologically unattainable at the time. The data now exist and can be used to test Kuhn’s framework, while Kuhn’s framework can in turn be used to provide a normative interpretation of scientometric data. The development of such an evidence-based framework for the normative study of science is the goal of this project.