The German Research Foundation (DFG) intends to analyze and reflect the digital change in sciences in its most diverse dimensions and possible effects with a high-ranking commission of experts. The commission, comprising eleven members from science, business and the network world is to contribute towards a more fundamental positioning of DFG in terms of the topic “Science in the Digital Age”. Its inaugural meeting took place in Bonn.
“The increasingly intensive and extensive use of digital technologies in the sciences and their broadly based impacts on the underlying processes, principles and framework conditions of science requires a differentiated and precise analysis and a reflected approach that does justice to science in all its branches“, said DFG President Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider, the chairman of the commission. “The commission of experts is therefore to take into account the digital change insofar as it refers to the sciences, in its entire dynamics and in all its technical, legal, financial and organizational as well as social, ethical and epistemic aspects.“
Members of the commission are (in alphabetical order): DFG Vice-President Professor Dr.-Ing. Frank Allgöwer, Systems Theory and Automatic Control, University of Stuttgart; Markus Beckedahl, netzpolitik.org e.V., Berlin; Professor Dr. Folkmar Bornemann, Computational Science, Technical University of Munich; Professor Dr. Thomas Dandekar, Bioinformatics, Biocenter at the University of Würzburg; Private Lecturer Dr. Eckhard Elsen, CERN, Geneva; Professor Dr. Fotis Jannidis, German Philology, University of Würzburg; Dr.-Ing. Peter Leibinger, TRUMPF Laser GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen; Professor Dr. Armin Michael Nassehi, Sociology, LMU Munich; Professor Dr. Kerstin Schill, Cognitive Neuroinformatics, University of Bremen; Professor Dr. Judith Simon, Ethics in Information Technology, University of Hamburg.
The now constituted commission will divide its work into four major thematic blocks. It will initially be a matter of the “processes of science and research“, building on this data, publications and software as “digital commodities of science and their significance for science as a social system“ as well in turn as directly linked to this “methods and science concepts“ and “digital methods and scientific principles“. The conclusion of the work by the commission is planned for the end of 2019; after this it would be conceivable to continue the work in a future DFG senate commission on the digital change in the sciences.
The commission of experts is part of a multi-stage process with which the largest research funding organization and central self-administration for science in Germany wishes to confront the digital change in science and research. Besides this possible actions for the further development of funding activities and its tools for advising politics and society will be developed in a multi-stage structuring project in the DFG administrative office.