20 July 2017

Parallell Session 13, 15:30–17:00
Auditorium 2 of the Didactic Centre of the Institute for Biosciences
University of São Paolo


Sabina Leonelli

Aims of the session

How can data produced from different sources and through diverse techniques be integrated and visualized, what role does technology (in the form of experimental instruments, modeling software and digital databases) play in such efforts, and how do the challenges and opportunities offered by data integration affect the development and content of scientific knowledge claims?

This symposium approaches these questions by bringing together philosophical studies grounded on the empirical examination of large-scale data integration practices within plant biology, biomedicine, environmental science and neuroscience. We discuss the epistemological challenges involved in bringing together diverse datasets pertaining to different phenomena, target systems and research environments, and in some cases collected on widely disparate materials across different locations around the globe.

We place particular emphasis on documenting concerns relating to convoluted and non-linear methods of inference, sampling, modelling and data processing which are often employed in complex data integration exercises, with implications for the extent to which data can be triangulated, reproduced, reused and validated. We also consider the epistemic advantages involved in integration efforts, particularly the potential to cluster data in the absence of formal, unifying theories and related opportunities to bridge across diverging research perspectives and conceptions of science and its uses.


Chair: James Griesemer (UC Davis)

15:30 Sabina Leonell (University of Exeter)i: Studying plant traits across cultures: Data integration strategies in plant phenomics.

15:50 David J. Colaço (University of Pittsburgh): The interaction of technique and data: Insights from neural microscop.

16:10 Stefano Canali (Leibniz University Hannover): Integrating data in Molecular Epidemiology: The case of exposome research.

16:30 Niccolò Tempini (University of Exeter): Where health and environment meet: Geolocation as invariance mechanism for integrating diverse data sources.

16:50 Commentary by James Griesemer

16:55 General discussion