News & Updates

Learning From Empirical Approaches to HPS

Learning From Empirical Approaches to HPS
April 6 - 7, 2018
Center for Philosophy of Science
817 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA USA


In recent years, some historians and philosophers of science have taken an empirical turn in their own work, conducting surveys and interviews, embedding themselves in scientific research groups as both observers and participants, designing and conducting new experiments, replicating historically important experiments, and developing computational approaches to questions in the history & philosophy of science. This conference will provide an opportunity to critically engage with the newest methods and results while keeping traditional HPS questions firmly in sight. Applications of empirical methods to philosophical questions in domains such as values in science, science policy, and science communication are also welcome. General themes include but are not limited to: What does HPS learn from interviews and surveys? HPS observers in the lab: how is it different from social science? Which questions in the history and philosophy of science can be answered experimentally? What does the latest in machine learning imply about scientific discovery and hypothesis generation? What are the implications of metrics for meaning similarity for issues such as the incommensurability of theories? What can HPS learn from the science of science?

Keynote Speakers: John Bickle, Nancy Nersessian, Paul Thagard
Submission Deadline: December 18, 2017

Please submit an abstract of no more than 1500 words. Abstracts will be refereed blind and notifications will be sent mid-January, 2018.

Abstract submission is electronic, and must be made through Easy Chair.
Please go to:

We encourage early career scholars and individuals working on HPS topics in different disciplines to submit to this conference, and we particularly welcome submissions from members of underrepresented groups. To facilitate participation, we can offer a small number of travel subvention awards, to reimburse up to 250 USD of a presenter’s travel costs. When submitting your abstract, please indicate in the PDF if you are interested in being considered for a travel subvention award. Accepted presenters will receive additional instructions for consideration for an award.

Further inquiries may be addressed to David Colaço (

Digital HPS Meeting Recap, 2014 Nancy, France

The 2014 Digital HPS Consortium Meeting took place from September 1st to the 3rd, in Nancy, France. The event brought together many of the Digital HPS Consortium members to discuss and further Digital HPS projects and methods. The meeting was organized by members of the University of Lorraine including Olivier Bruneau, Pierre Couchet, and Scott Walter. Additionally, Henri-Poincaré Archives (University of Lorraine & CNRS) and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Lorraine helped support the meeting.

At the meeting, members of the consortium provided updates on their HPS projects. David Kohn, the Director of the Darwin Manuscripts Project, described the advanced stage of the project, which had digitized, transcribed, and annotated over 30,000 pieces from Darwin's library. Kohn discussed some of the ways the project is bringing new historical aspects into the consciousness of scholars. For example, historians are using the manuscripts to explore relationships such as that between Darwin and his Joseph Hooker, who apparently edited versions of The Origin of Species before it was published.

Manfred Laubichler presented "A Computational Research Systems for the History of Science," discussing how HPS projects can use digital tools to analyze, annotate, and understand historical data. Laubichler argued that these digital methods make research data available to a wider range of scholars.

Kerry Magruder of the University of Oklahoma gave an update on the ongoing work in the OU Libraries, and discussed the importance of open sources for historical projects. Adam Goldstein presented on bibliographies, and Scott Walker discussed scholarly annotation of mathematics with LATexml.

Alison Pearn from Darwin Correspondence Project was also present and engaged in the discussions. And graduate students at Arizona State University Paige Madison and Steve Elliot presented on how digital HPS and humanities organizations can use social media to further missions such as outreach. They also introduced their new social media handbook that details best practices for scholarly organizations to follow when they employ social media, which can be found in our Resources page.

Contact information for the individuals who presented at this meeting, as well as information about their projects, can be found on our Participants page of this website.

Appointed positions at the Meeting:
Steering Committee and Chairs:
Co-chair: Urs Schoepflin (Max Planck Institute)
Co-chair: Scott Walter (The Poincaré Correspondence Project, University of Lorraine)
Co-chair: Manfred Laubichler (Arizona State University)
1. Alison Pearn (Cambridge University)
2. Rick Creath (Arizona State University)
3. David Kohn (Darwin Manuscript Project)
4. Kerry Magruder (Oklahoma University)
5. Scott Weingart (Indiana University)
Paige Madison (Arizona State University)

It was determined that next year's meeting will be hosted by the University of Oklahoma and will be held in Norman, Oklahoma from 11 to 13 March, 2016. Organized by Kerry Magruder, Stephen Weldon and Tara Carlisle, the meeting offers an opportunity for scholars in DHPS to present their publications, tools, and methods, to exchange ideas, and to form and nurture contacts with members of the international DHPS community.

Please direct questions about the meeting to and for information about travel, registration, accommodations, and the workshop, please visit the website:

Social Media & Digital HPS

The Digital HPS consortium is incorporating social media to communicate their ongoing projects and findings. Through online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, historians and philosophers can fulfill projects' missions such as outreach and communication. At the 2014 Digital HPS Consortium Meeting, September 1st to the 3rd, in Nancy, France, two graduate students presented on their experience and advice for using social media in HPS projects. These graduate students, Paige Madison and Steve Elliot, have gained experience in social media through project's including Arizona State University's Embryo Project.

At the meeting, Elliot and Madison also introduced their new social media handbook that details best practices for scholarly organizations to follow when they employ social media. The handbook grew from their experiences running the Embryo Project's social media platforms, such as twitter, The handbook is a digital and Open Access resource for anyone interested, and can be found at the website ( and in the resources section of the Digital HPS website. The handbook is titled "Social Media Handbook and Best Practices for the Embryo Project, the Digital HPS Consortium, and HPS Projects."

Madison and Elliot's talk was received with a number of questions and inquiries, and several digital HPS organizations are now hoping to include social media aspects to their projects. For more on their use of social media, check out . Many scholars within the Digital HPS consortium look forward to incorporating these evolving communication methods to further their project goals.

Call for Papers: Workshop on Semantic Web for Scientific Heritage

Call for Papers: Workshop on Semantic Web for Scientific Heritage (SW4SH)

The first Workshop on Semantic Web for Scientific Heritage will be held in conjunction with the 12th ESWC 2015 Conference on June 1, in Portoroz, Slovenia and will provide a leading international and interdisciplinary forum for disseminating the latest research in the field of Semantic Web for the study of pre-modern scientific texts and of the history of the ideas and their transmission.

Classicists and historians are interested in developing textual databases, in order to gather and explore large amounts of primary source materials. For a long time, they mainly focused on text digitization and markup. They only recently decided to try to explore the possibility of transferring some analytical processes they previously thought incompatible with automation to knowledge engineering systems, thus taking advantage of the growing set of tools and techniques based on the languages and standards of the semantic Web, such as linked data, ontologies, and automated reasoning. On the other hand, Semantic Web researchers are willing to take up more ambitious challenges than those arising in the native context of the Web in terms of anthropological complexity, addressing meta-semantic problems of flexible, pluralist or evolutionary ontologies, sources heterogeneity, hermeneutic and rhetoric dimensions. Thus the opportunity for a fruitful encounter of knowledge engineers with computer-savvy historians and classicists has come. This encounter may be inscribed within the more general context of digital humanities, a research area at the intersection of computing and the humanities disciplines which is gaining an ever-increasing momentum and where the Linked Open Data is playing an increasingly prominent role.

The purpose of the workshop is to provide a forum for discussion about the methodological approaches to the specificity of annotating “scientific” texts (in the wide sense of the term, including disciplines such as history, architecture, or rhetoric), and to support a collaborative reflection, on possible guidelines or specific models for building historical ontologies. The iconographic data, which are also relevant in history of science and arise similar problematic could be addressed as well and offer suggestive insights for a global methodology for diverse media. A key goal of the workshop, focusing on research issues related to pre-modern scientific texts, is to emphasize, through precise projects and up-to-date investigation in digital humanities, the benefit of a multidisciplinary research to create and operate on relevantly structured data. One of the main interests of the very topic of pre-modern historical data management lies in historical semantics, and the opportunity to jointly consider how to identify and express lexical, theoretical and material evolutions. Dealing with historical texts, a major problem is indeed to handle the discrepancy of the historical terminology compared to the modern one, and, in the case of massive, diachronic data, to take into account the contextual and theoretical meaning of words and sentences and their semantics. Papers on ancient and medieval biological science and zoology are particularly welcome.

More information can be found on the attached PDF.

Citizen-scientist Crowd Sourcing Opportunity Collaboration between the Biodiversity Heritage Library and Zooniverse.

We are sending the below invitation to the dHPS community to inform you of a citizen-scientist crowd sourcing opportunity collaboration between the Biodiversity Heritage Library and Zooniverse.

Please see below:

From Trish Rose-Sandler of BHL

The Zooniverse Science Gossip site will be going live March 4th and we are conducting beta testing of the site for the next week.
Science Gossip is an extension of our Art of Life ( ) work where we are classifying and describing illustrations from BHL books and journals.
We are very excited to have the opportunity to utilize Zooniverse as it is one of the premier citizen science platforms out there with large numbers of participation.
Not only will it increase the number of BHL image descriptions and expose BHL content to new audiences, but will also allow us to compare this platform against Flickr and assess which is more effective in crowdsourcing.

We would love your feedback and if you know of other groups that will be interested in this site such as historians of science, rare book catalogers, etc feel free to send them the beta link. Instructions below. You can test the site w/o registering but registering will allow you to see your completed tasks under “profile”

From: Zooniverse

Hello beta testers
In the Victorian period, just like today, scientists and members of the public worked together to further scientific discovery. Before computers and cameras they had to draw what they saw. Their drawings are locked away in the pages of Victorian periodicals, such asScience Gossip, Recreative Science and The Intellectual Observer.
The ultimate goal of this new project is to understand the roots of citizen science. This is the first Zooniverse project where citizen scientists are both the researchers and the subject of the research. Help us to classify scientific drawings, and map the origins of citizen science.
To join in, go to and try it out! We really value your opinions and advice, so please be detailed on the feedback form, which you can also find a link to in the menu on the site.
Victoria and the Zooniverse team

Register now for 2014 Digital HPS Consortium Annual Meeting!

The annual 2014 Digital HPS Consortium Meeting will be held 1 to 3 September in Nancy, France. With support from the Henri-Poincaré Archives (University of Lorraine & CNRS) and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Lorraine, the meeting is being organized by Olivier Bruneau, Pierre Couchet, and Scott Walter. If you have any questions, please visit the updated page for the meeting, which has detailed instructions for registration and travel. If you cannot find the answer you're looking for, feel free to direct questions to

To register for the meeting, please visit: and fill in the online form with your particulars by 1 July 2014.

2014 Digital HPS Consortium Annual Meeting: September 1-3 in Nancy, France

Photo credit: Ville de Nancy

2014 Digital HPS Consortium Annual Meeting: September 1-3 In Nancy, France

Following the meetings held in Pasadena (2011), Cambridge (2012), and Bloomington (2013), the 2014 edition of the Digital HPS Consortium Annual Meeting will be held in Nancy, France, from 1 to 3 September. Organized by Olivier Bruneau, Pierre Couchet, and Scott Walter, with support from the Henri-Poincaré Archives (University of Lorraine & CNRS) and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Lorraine, the meeting offers an opportunity for scholars in DHPS to present their publications, tools, and methods, to exchange ideas, and to form and nurture contacts with members of the international DHPS community. The working language of the meeting is English, but there will be plenty of occasions to practice speaking French, for those so inclined.

Located in the Lorraine region of eastern France, Nancy is easily accessible by high-speed trains from both Paris and Charles de Gaulle
airport (north of Paris). Travel directions, information on lodging, and a preliminary program will soon be available; stay tuned.

Scholars wishing to participate in the meeting are invited to register online, eventually disclosing a title and abstract for a 30-minute talk at their earliest convenience.

Digital HPS at the History of Science Society Meeting, 2013

Arizona State University consortium members, Julia Damerow and Erick Pierson, are presenting a Digital HPS session on tools and methods at the 2013 History of Science Society Meeting in Boston. Along with ASU, many other institutions participating in digital tools and methods are participating in the event, scheduled for Friday night, 8:45pm - 10:00pm, in the Alcott Room, on the Mezzanine Level.

1. To expose HSS attendees to some of the cool things happening in the Digital HPS world, and
2. To create an informal, friendly space where people interested in digital approaches can be inspired, discuss ideas, and get more information.

Multiple stations will be set up around the edges of the room, each with a small data projector on a table (2'x6')-- one per demonstrator. After a brief intro (see below), each demonstrator will give a short plug (~5 minutes) for their tool, technique, or project, with visual aids.

Attendees will then be encouraged to go around and talk to demonstrators at their respective tables, to get more information. We'd like to encourage you to be ready to demonstrate your tools in more detail, or at least have additional slides ready on your computer, to show to interested attendees that walk up during the session.

(2') Erick - welcome; format + agenda.
(5') Manfred Laubichler -- Brief introduction: "What is Digital HPS, and why should we care?"
(5') Wally Hooper - Newton project
(5') Daron Dierkes -- George Engelmann correspondence project
(5') Adam Goldstein -- Darwin manuscripts project
(5') Scott Walter -- Poincaré project -- A workflow overview from digitized manuscript to annotated LaTeX transcription to MathML/PDF display & Omeka
(5') Julia Damerow + Erick Peirson -- ASU Digital Innovation Group -- Vogon text annotation + network-building platform.


2014 Digital HPS Consortium Meeting Announced

To keep abreast of the continually evolving meeting plan, please see the revised update "2014 Digital HPS Consortium Annual Meeting: September 1-3 In Nancy, France," or the page devoted to meeting content and logistics, to be updated as those specifics emerge: "September 1-3: 2014 Digital HPS Consortium Annual Meeting, Nancy, France."

The 2014 Digital HPS Consortium Meeting will be held in Nancy, France, in September. Hosted by the Nancy-Université and organized by Scott Walter and Olivier Bruneau, the meeting will be held in a format a bit different from years previous. The two-part meeting will include tools training for Digital HPS in addition to the traditional meeting of the Digital HPS Consortium. The training portion of the meeting will serve as an introduction to Digital HPS for many European digital projects and will include a combination of training in standards, methods, and tools.