“Science is what scientists do, and there are as many scientific methods as there are individual scientists.”
— Percy W. Bridgman
To the public, ‘science’ is primarily an abstract authority in questions of knowledge. Mostly, contact with this authority is limited to the products of scientific work, while the inner workings of science usually remain hidden behind the walls of research institutions, laboratories, and offices. What do people actually do when they ‘do science’? The actual day-to-day work behind the scenes is most often not nearly as organized and systematic as the finished products in academic journals and by far not as glamorous as contemporary scientific mega-conferences may suggest. Doing science is first and foremost a mere form of labor, a mundane but complex practice, a way of going about things and getting things done which depends on the right time, place, people or mood to produce scientific knowledge. For this issue of JUnQ, we asked scholars from various disciplines to share their experiences and views upon the labor of science and invited them to reflect upon and give us an insight in their daily work as a scientist or scientific writer. What does ‘good’ scientific labor mean to those who do it? What, in their eyes, makes for ‘good’ (enough?) scientific work?
Read more: Scientific Labor