The PHIL_OS project aims to develop an empirically grounded philosophy of Open Science [OS] that emphasises the diversity of research environments around the world and articulates the conditions under which OS can leverage such diversity to promote good research practice. 

The project is based at Egenis, the Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences, on the Streatham Campus of the University of Exeter, UK.

The OS movement is transforming research, with OS policies adopted around the globe and widespread agreement on implementing key OS principles like openness, transparency and reproducibility. However, the philosophy of science underpinning the OS movement has not been clearly articulated. Moreover, there are significant epistemic risks in implementing OS across widely different research settings, such as the marginalisation of contributions from low-resourced environments. This raises questions about the relation between open and good science.

To address these concerns, this project combines a philosophical analysis of the epistemic significance of research environments with empirical research on how researchers working in different environments enact and conceptualise OS. This “philosophy of science in practice” [PSP] approach is ideally suited to investigating the meaning and implications of OS for the conduct of research. This project extends PSP by grounding conceptual analysis of scientific practice on qualitative research as well as collaboration with scientists and policymakers. We aim to develop a conceptualisation of OS that reframes its key principles by outlining how exchanges across environments can boost research excellence.

The empirical focus of the project is on OS practices within the plant sciences broadly conceived including botanical research carried out at field stations, breeding farms and seed collections. The project thus aims to understand how concerns around Open Science can support current and future transnational research on food security and environmental challenges.