Conferences archive > 2016 > SPEAKERS & ABSTRACTS

Sabina Leonelli

Sabina Leonelli is Associate Professor in Philosophy and History of Science at the University of Exeter, UK, where she serves as the Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences (Egenis) and leads the Data Studies research strand ( She is also the Open Science lead for the Global Young Academy and a member of the Open Science Policy Platform of the European Commission. Her research focuses on the philosophy, history and sociology of data-intensive science, especially the research processes, scientific outputs and social embedding of Open Science, Open Data and Big Data. She holds an ERC Starting Grant to investigate and compare existing strategies for dissemination and re-use of data across several fields, with emphasis on the biological and biomedical domains. Her book Data-Centric Biology: A Philosophical Study is appearing this fall with Chicago University Press.

Integrating Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Data: The Impact of Digital Technology on Research

This talk examines current efforts to disseminate, integrate, visualise and use large biological, biomedical and environmental datasets, on the basis of extensive historiographic and ethnographic engagement in the development of existing data infrastructures and their use to support scientific discovery ( I focus on the opportunities provided by extensive integration of “big data” from a variety of disciplines and sources, and the challenges confronted by data scientists engaged in facilitating these efforts. While increasing automation and sophisticated technologies play a crucial role in supporting these efforts, human judgment and experimental/field testing and validation of results remain of paramount importance. This analysis supports a philosophical interpretation the extent to which digital technology is transforming scientific research, and the role that human agency needs to play alongside increasingly powerful artificial intelligence. 

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