Classificatory Theory in Data-intensive Science: The Case of Open Biomedical Ontologies

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Abstract
Knowledge-making practices in biology are being strongly affected by the availability of data on an unprecedented scale, the insistence on systemic approaches and growing reliance on bioinformatics and digital infrastructures. What role does theory play within data-intensive science, and what does that tell us about scientific theories in general? To answer these questions, I focus on Open Biomedical Ontologies, digital classification tools that have become crucial to sharing results across research contexts in the biological and biomedical sciences, and argue that they constitute an example of classificatory theory. This form of theorizing emerges from classification practices in conjunction with experimental know-how and expresses the knowledge underpinning the analysis and interpretation of data disseminated online
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Archival date: 2012-07-17
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2012-05-22

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