Petar Jandrić ‘Viral modernity: Covid-19 and the promise of open science’
May 22 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Professor Petar Jandrić, Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, Croatia
According to the World Health Organisation (2020), “the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (…) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019”. 30 days later, on 31 January 2020, UK’s Wellcome Trust issued a statement entitled ‘Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’. Initially signed by 67 large organisations such as the European Commission and mainstream academic publishers such as Elsevier and Springer Nature, the statement resulted with unprecedented level of global research collaboration. At the moment of writing this abstract, and only 60 days after the outbreak of the epidemic, this research collaboration has already returned some fascinating results – virus genome has been mapped, reliable tests have been developed, and the first trial of the vaccine has started (Park 2020).
Such success of open science has resulted in some bombastic predictions about its future. “When the story of the coronavirus (2019-nCOV) is finally written, it might well become a template for the utopian dream of open science — where research data is shared freely, unrestrained by competition, paywalls and patents.” (Crowe 2020) There is no doubt that such developments would not be possible without the principles of open science – free sharing of datasets and research results, quick review and publishing procedures, and, above all, decommodification of all Covid-19 related research. Only two months after the outbreak of the epidemic, however, the principles of open science have already bumped into some natural limitations including but not limited to questionable verifiability of (some) published results to data deluge (Peters, Jandrić and McLaren 2020).
This presentation uses the case of the coronavirus (2019-nCOV) to explore viral modernity as a concept that is based upon the nature of viruses, the ancient and critical role they play in evolution and culture, and the basic application to understanding the role and forms of bioinformation in the social world. While the exact flow and dynamic of the collective response to Covid-19 will surely be analysed long after the epidemic is gone, the presentation exposes some major challenges it has introduced to the scientific community since the outbreak of the epidemic.
Petar Jandrić is Professor at the Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, Croatia. His previous academic affiliations include Croatian Academic and Research Network, National e-Science Centre at the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow School of Art, and Cass School of Education at the University of East London. Petar’s background is in physics, education and information science, his research interests are situated at the post-disciplinary intersections between technologies, pedagogies and the society, and research methodologies of his choice are inter-, trans-, and anti-disciplinarity. His recent books include Education and Technological Unemployment (2019), Mobility, Data, and Learner Agency in Networked Learning (2020), and Postdigital Dialogues on Critical Pedagogy, Liberation Theology and Information Technology (2020). Petar is Editor-in-Chief of Postdigital Science and Education journal https://www.springer.com/journal/42438 and book series https://www.springer.com/series/16439. Personal website: http://petarjandric.com/.
World Health Organisation (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Accessed 28 February 2020.
Wellcome Trust (2020). Press Release: Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 31 January. https://wellcome.ac.uk/press-release/sharing-research-data-and-findings-relevant-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Accessed 28 February 2020.
Park, A. (2020). COVID-19 Vaccine Shipped, and Drug Trials Start. Time, 25 February. https://time.com/5790545/first-covid-19-vaccine/. Accessed 28 February 2020.
Crowe, K. (2020). ‘We’re opening everything’: Scientists share coronavirus data in unprecedented way to contain, treat disease. CBC News, 1 February. https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/coronavirus-2019-ncov-science-virus-genome-who-research-collaboration-1.5446948. Accessed 28 February 2020.
Peters, M.A., Jandrić, P., & McLaren, P. (forthcoming 2020). Viral Modernity: Covid-19 and the promise of open science. Educational Philosophy and Theory.