[Call for proposals] Conference “The future of science: scientific archives and new research“ 29-30th of November 2023

Vendredi, Septembre 15, 2023

EDUC/LABEX/MSH Mondes two days international conference


The testimonial value of scientific archives cannot be denied: archives help historians and particularly historians of science retrace science’s history, its place in society, past and future. But what other direct value could be assigned to old scientific archives? Could scientific archives be used for producing new scientific results, either in their discipline or in another? Could they be used for informing new artistic or societal work or bring about technological innovations ? This conference aims to consider examples of reuses of scientific material for producing new results.

One of the main impulses for preserving scientists’ archives in the open data movement is this potential reuse. The Open Data movement, with its vision of sharing the inner workings of science beyond its usual circle, has obliged scientists to revisit the raw data on which they base their scientific production before opening it to public scrutiny. Raw scientific data becomes simultaneously the proof of the validity of science, a fragment of the web of science, a potentially replicable or reusable material, a vehicle of communication about scientific knowledge to society. Raw scientific data is, also, hailed and criticized as just ‘data’, in a historical period when this term is viewed both positively and negatively, according to the benefits or abuses it brings to the knowledge system, with which data cannot be confused. It is in this context that we would like to consider the past raw scientific materials and their link to the advancement of science. What are the reasons that push universities, knowledge societies or individuals to preserve or to destroy raw scientific materials? How can scientists and curators collaborate and manage scientific heritage that cut across two fields, that of science and that of heritage? And what of the intangible heritage of science which often has not been recorded and preserved in archival form but remains the basis guaranteeing the integrity of science, its ethics and its sociability?

In social sciences and humanities, the dialogue between universities and cultural heritage institutions, scientific and cultural values intersect each other: does this help designing joint forms of scientific archives management, dissemination and communication? If the joint management of scientific archives is a field in which researchers meet curators in order to innovate technologically and ethically on questions of heritage preservation, could teachings from this case study be applied to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge around other archival materials (of artistic, administrative nature etc.)? Another aim of this conference is to highlight the role of social sciences and humanities in national and regional innovation ecosystems through their role in the circuits of knowledge and technological innovation between the academic sector and the cultural sectors in particular. Thus, we are equally looking for contributions on innovative practices and digital tools used by EDUC Alliance members to make SSH archives available more widely for future research.


We would like to invite proposals of no more than 300 words to be addressed to Monica Heintz mheintz[at] and Ghislaine Glasson Deschaumes gglasson-des[at] by the 9th of October 2023. The travel and accommodation of contributors from the EDUC Alliance shall be covered by the UPN conference organisers.

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