The goal of this workshop is to formulate a new synthesis of the "science of science" that sets an agenda for developing and validating causal understandings of the origins of social and epistemic inequalities, and their consequences for knowledge production. New scientific knowledge comes from the collective and linked efforts of thousands of researchers working within and across disciplines. The makeup of this scientific workforce is known to shape what scientific discoveries are made, and its social structure is complex, evolving, and increasingly interdisciplinary. However, inequalities within science are both pervasive and persistent, and these appear across both the individual and organizational levels of the academy. The "new synthesis" this workshop aims to produce will help align a diverse set of research communities toward specific questions related to the causes and consequences of social and epistemic inequalities in the production of knowledge. A likely outcome of the workshop is writing a collective agenda-setting perspective piece that presents these ideas to the broader community, which will also help guide policy makers and funders as to what is known and unknown about the casual structures that limit scientific progress.

This interdisciplinary workshop will bring together experts from a diverse set of communities to engage specific questions of identifying, debating, and developing evidence-based policies that resolve genuine inequalities of opportunity in science, in order to increase the pace and diversity of scientific discoveries. Progress in this direction requires developing a new synthesis in the area of the "science of science," to specifically develop a causal understanding of the social, competitive, and structural factors that drive these inequalities and make them so persistent. The complex and dynamic structure of the ecosystem of scientists, organizations, and incentives has inhibited past efforts to unravel this causal structure. By convening a diverse set of accomplished scholars all studying the science of science from different perspectives, this workshop seeks to formulate a new and integrated vision for how interdisciplinary research, in combination with modern digital infrastructure (including bibliographic databases, digital censuses of fields, and the powerful tools of causal inference and machine learning), can break through the past barriers to create a genuinely scientific understanding of the scientific ecosystem.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA)
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Joshua Trapani
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Santa Fe Institute
Santa Fe
United States
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