Research Coordination Network: Mapping Authorities and Ontologies in Computational and Digital HPS

Computational and (big) data driven approaches are increasingly applied to many areas of the social sciences including history and philosophy of science (HPS) and are beginning to yield novel insights as part of individual projects. However, without coordinated authorities and ontologies, data cannot be shared or integrated across individual projects, severely limiting their broader use. Without the benefits of such an economy of scale the transformative impact of computational methods in HPS is limited as the integration and computational analysis of datasets across multiple projects is precisely what enables novel and innovative questions. This RCN addresses the challenges related to authorities and ontologies for computational and digital projects in HPS by conducting research and developing computational solutions for mapping authorities and integrating ontologies across HPS projects through step-wise aggregation and mapping of data models, authorities and ontologies. Taken together, aggregated data models, authorities and ontologies will provide a structured representation of HPS knowledge and the foundation for a data driven computational HPS infrastructure. As it is also clear that integration, coordination and standards cannot be imposed centrally, given the diversity of contexts, questions, and approaches, an RCN is the appropriate mechanism for this type of project.

Guided by members of the Steering Committee [Ana Maria Alfonso-Goldfarb (Simeo Mathias Center of Studies in History of Science, Brazil), Colin Allen (Indiana University-co-PI), Michelle DiMeo (Chemical Heritage Foundation), Elihu Gerson (Tremont Research Institute), Gerd Grasshoff (Humboldt U., Germany), Wally Hooper (Indiana U.), Chris Kelty (UCLA), David Kohn (AMNH), Manfred Laubichler (Arizona State U.-PI), Jane Maienschein (Arizona State U.-co-PI), Gavan McCarthy (U. of Melbourne, Australia), Georgina Montgomery (Michigan State U.), Alison Pearn (U. of Cambridge, England), Birute Railiene (Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), Sean Valles (Michigan State U.), Kathleen Vogel (North Carolina State U.), Scott Walter (University de Nantes, France), Stephen Weldon (U.of Oklahoma-co-PI), Alex Wellerstein (Stevens Institute of Technology), and Dirk Wintergrün (MPIWG)] this international RCN network will (1) solidify a working social/organizational network of researchers in computational HPS, including a structured set of educational modules; (2) coordinate research and development of software solutions to address the challenge of data integration across HPS projects; and (3) document and analyze the process of reaching these solutions and integration as an example of how the computational turn affects the development of scientific fields.

Link to NSF page:

Proposal number: 1656284