Understanding Life in the Digital Age

Understanding Life in the Digital Age

Sabina Leonelli


Looking for plant data (Copyright Michel Durinx/GARNet).

This project aims to provide a philosophical framework through which the current emphasis on data-intensive biology, and more generally the role played by data in scientific inquiry, can be studied and understood. To achieve this, I focus on the history and contemporary instances of what I call data journeys: the ways in which scientific data are disseminated in order to function as evidence for knowledge claims. As I show in my work, the more widely data are disseminated and re-used, the more significant their epistemic role is deemed to be. To be transformed into knowledge, scientific data need to be ordered, labelled and packaged so as to make them portable – that is, capable of being picked up and transported across different sites.

During my start at the MPI, and taking inspiration from the lively intellectual environment provided by the Sciences of the Archive project, I aim to finalize a book manuscript provisionally titled "Researching Life in the Digital Age: The Epistemology of Data-Intensive Biology".