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CWTS Seminar

Academic data science: Transdisciplinary and extradisciplinary visions

  • Dr. Anissa Tanweer
Friday 12 July 2024
Willem Einthoven
Kolffpad 1
2333 BN Leiden
CWTS - Common Room

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CWTS and CADS digitalization cluster (d12n) are welcoming Dr. Anissa Tanweer for a research seminar about “Academic data science: Transdisciplinary and extradisciplinary visions”. All are welcome, and we look forward to seeing you!


As a nascent field within the academy, the contours, attributes, and bounties of data science are still indeterminate and contested. We studied how participants in an initiative to establish data science at a large American research university defined data science and articulated their relationships to the field. We discuss two contrasting visions for data science among our research participants. One vision is a transdisciplinary view portraying data science as a phenomenon with transcendent, appropriative, and impositional qualities that sits apart from academic domains. Another view of data science—one that was far more prevalent among our research subjects—casts data science as grounded, relational, and adaptive, emerging from crosspollination of numerous academic domains. We argue that this latter formulation represents a more quotidian reality of data science and positions the field as an extradiscipline, defined as a field that exists to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, skills, tools, and methods from an indeterminate and fluctuating set of disciplinary perspectives while conserving the boundaries of those disciplines. We argue that the dueling transdisciplinary and extradisciplinary visions for data science have important implications for how the field will mature, and that the extradiscipline concept opens novel directions for studying academic knowledge production in STS, contributing additional precision to the literature on disciplinarity and its permutations.


Dr. Anissa Tanweer, Senior Social Scientist at the University of Washington’s eScience Institute and Program Director of its Data Science for Social Good program.

Website: https://escience.washington.edu/member/anissa-tanweer/ 

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