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Open science notebooks: new affordances, new insights: Adaptability in New Media: from technological to pragmatic affordances

Abstract : New media have had a profound impact on the way scientists access, carry out and communicate their research. The Open Science movement is one way in which scientific research has adapted to these new affordances. An Open Science initiative that to our knowledge has not been previously explored from a discourse-pragmatic perspective is Open Notebook Science ( This is the practice of placing the researcher's laboratory notebook online along with all raw and processed data, including failed experiments (so-called 'dark data'), errors, comments, speculations and interim results. Successful experiments are subsequently written up and published as a research article. Open science notebooks therefore provide an account of aspects of research which were previously inaccessible, illustrating how the affordances of the medium have been adapted to meet the research agenda of open science. This paper proposes a case-study of an open notebook in genomics available online . Analysis of the notebook provides interesting insights into the adaptability of language, which are highlighted by comparisons with other related texts at different stages of the interdiscursive chain (blogs, research articles). We will concentrate on comparing the notebook and a research article by the same author based on research presented in the notebook. We will argue - thanks to the insight provided by the open notebook into how research is conducted and formulated as it directly occurs in the lab - that the research article is extremely revealing in terms of language adaptability. We focus on three main linguistic features: •Narrativity: While the narrative dimension of academic discourse has recently received some attention (Gotti & Guinda, 2013), the storytelling forms and functions emerging in CMC are arguably distinctive and characteristic of this environment (Georgakopoulou 2013). Following this transmedial approach to narratology, we investigate how the research story related in the open notebook differs from the traditional, recontextualized "narrative of science" (Myers 1990) told in the research article. •Identity: Closely linked to narrativity is the issue of identity. By analyzing pronoun use and other signs of the explicit presence of the researcher, we inquire whether the open notebook can be considered to express the researcher's private voice, compared to the public voice of the article (cf; Fløttum & al, 2006). These two features of narrativity and identity will also allow us to examine the relationship between the open notebook and scholarly blogs. •Informality: An oft-noted feature of CMC discourse is its less constrained, more conversational nature (e.g. Myers 2010). This is a marked feature of the open notebook: e.g. I screwed up. We will analyze the extent - and limits - of this dimension in the open notebook, compared to the highly formal and constrained register of the article.
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Contributor : Shirley Carter-Thomas Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, February 12, 2017 - 1:20:43 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 15, 2021 - 1:40:08 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01465425, version 1


Shirley Carter-Thomas, Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet. Open science notebooks: new affordances, new insights: Adaptability in New Media: from technological to pragmatic affordances. 14th International Pragmatics Conference, "Language and adaptability", Jul 2015, Antwerp, Belgium. ⟨hal-01465425⟩



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