Activity: Talk or presentation types › Conference presentation
In this presentation we want to question what counts as environmental data and how it is produced (and by whom), based on the premise that in describing (and proposing new) relations between entities such as scientists, environmental data and the trees in a forest, particular ways of being are created (Star & Bowker 2007, Puig de la Bellacasa 2014, Escobar 2018). We use the case of a particular research forests, a complex sociotechnical entanglement where scientists, through deployment of various instruments, tools and highly specialized research practices extract, read and interpret, but also create, process and share environmental data. Research forests are slowly being “updated” and turned into what policy makers in Europe call: research infrastructures (RI). RIs are seen important for solving increasingly complex research questions, and to be able to address grand challenges that demand collaboration amongst scientists and new forms of research based on data sharing (Chabbi & Loescher 2017). These developments are therefore promising profound transformations in the ways scientific work is achieved; while allowing for unprecedented extensions of laboratory life (Latour et al. 1986) into the ordering of knowledge production of complex ecosystems (Gabrys 2016).
For some of the scientists we have collaborated with, RIs are promising developments that could let them tell better science stories (Karasti et al. 2002), among others, about the functioning of complex ecosystems, their ecological services and about climate change. From this perspective, we can say that RIs are ontological engines that so far mostly propagate stories whose focus is by large anthropocentric, dealing with human-made sensors, human-made data, and human-told stories; but that this is not always the case when looking up closer.