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blog:tacit-knowledge-and-science-communication-dilemmas [2017/03/07 14:45]
seanburns created
blog:tacit-knowledge-and-science-communication-dilemmas [2017/03/07 15:16] (current)
seanburns
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 However, Polanyi'​s claim that "we can know more than we can tell," what he refers to as //tacit knowledge//,​ continues to raise important dilemmas. In short, the assumption in the knowledge management literature, that we can know more than we can tell, does hold, but there is often disagreement about the type of knowledge that will forever be tacit and the type of knowledge that has the potential to be explicit but has not yet become so (Nonaka (1994) was one of the first successful people to begin categorizing these differences ((http://​www.jstor.org/​stable/​10.2307/​2635068))). Specifically,​ then, some problems we face with tacit knowledge, with this knowing more than telling problem, is whether tacit knowledge can be made explicit (can it be codified?); if so, is it tacit knowledge (or just implicit in some way); whether there will always be some kind of knowledge that will forever be immune to documentation;​ and whether, among other things, it's worth documenting,​ or attempting to, certain kinds of tacit or implicit knowledge (because, for example, the cost is high in some important way or the cognitive load of too much documentation is too great (information overload), etc.)? However, Polanyi'​s claim that "we can know more than we can tell," what he refers to as //tacit knowledge//,​ continues to raise important dilemmas. In short, the assumption in the knowledge management literature, that we can know more than we can tell, does hold, but there is often disagreement about the type of knowledge that will forever be tacit and the type of knowledge that has the potential to be explicit but has not yet become so (Nonaka (1994) was one of the first successful people to begin categorizing these differences ((http://​www.jstor.org/​stable/​10.2307/​2635068))). Specifically,​ then, some problems we face with tacit knowledge, with this knowing more than telling problem, is whether tacit knowledge can be made explicit (can it be codified?); if so, is it tacit knowledge (or just implicit in some way); whether there will always be some kind of knowledge that will forever be immune to documentation;​ and whether, among other things, it's worth documenting,​ or attempting to, certain kinds of tacit or implicit knowledge (because, for example, the cost is high in some important way or the cognitive load of too much documentation is too great (information overload), etc.)?
  
-Transparency is not a new norm for science. Historians of science write about early motivations to disseminate scientific reporting, and Robert Merton'​s ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Robert_K._Merton)) insights about the norms of science touch on this, in particular, the //​communism//​ norm (I write briefly about it here:​[[blog:​reading-robert-k-merton-normative-structure|Reading Robert K Merton: Normative Structure]]) describes it in particular, at least in part (it focuses on findings, more so). However, what's interesting,​ as of late, is that communication and information technologies,​ such as the web and the Internet, have enkindled the debate, by providing an enhanced ability to document, in more detail and thoroughness,​ the scientific process. The assumption, then, is that more and better information and documentation of the scientific process (<a href="​https://​cseanburns.wordpress.com/​2016/​01/​19/​polanyi-and-the-epistemology-of-science/" target="​_blank">​open science</​a>​), maximized by these technologies,​ will lead to a better way of doing science and thus more reliable scientific findings and truths.+Transparency is not a new norm for science. Historians of science write about early motivations to disseminate scientific reporting, and Robert Merton'​s ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Robert_K._Merton)) insights about the norms of science touch on this, in particular, the //​communism//​ norm (I write briefly about it here:​[[blog:​reading-robert-k-merton-normative-structure|Reading Robert K Merton: Normative Structure]]) describes it in particular, at least in part (it focuses on findings, more so). However, what's interesting,​ as of late, is that communication and information technologies,​ such as the web and the Internet, have enkindled the debate, by providing an enhanced ability to document, in more detail and thoroughness,​ the scientific process. The assumption, then, is that more and better information and documentation of the scientific process (([[blog:​polanyi-and-science|Polanyi and Science]])), maximized by these technologies,​ will lead to a better way of doing science and thus more reliable scientific findings and truths.
  
 These assumptions,​ however, need more testing. First, the same epistemological questions raised above apply to scientists; that is, what do scientists know more than they can tell? How much of and of what kind of their tacit knowledge needs to be made explicit, if it can be? If some tacit knowledge cannot be made explicit, does this type of knowledge present any true obstacles to reproducibility (akin to the Gettier problem ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Gettier_problem))--reproducibility by luck and not by true justification)?​ Second, once those epistemological questions are surveyed, then the assumptions about the communication of science need to be addressed. For example, is the quality of the scientific enterprise a function of its transparency (its openness--open science ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_science)),​ open access ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_access)),​ open source ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_source)),​ open standards ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_standard)),​ open peer review ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_peer_review)),​ etc.)? If so, what are the maxima and minima ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Maxima_and_minima)),​ so to speak, of this function? Or, what's the minimal or maximal amount of transparency needed for a healthy scientific enterprise? These assumptions,​ however, need more testing. First, the same epistemological questions raised above apply to scientists; that is, what do scientists know more than they can tell? How much of and of what kind of their tacit knowledge needs to be made explicit, if it can be? If some tacit knowledge cannot be made explicit, does this type of knowledge present any true obstacles to reproducibility (akin to the Gettier problem ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Gettier_problem))--reproducibility by luck and not by true justification)?​ Second, once those epistemological questions are surveyed, then the assumptions about the communication of science need to be addressed. For example, is the quality of the scientific enterprise a function of its transparency (its openness--open science ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_science)),​ open access ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_access)),​ open source ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_source)),​ open standards ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_standard)),​ open peer review ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Open_peer_review)),​ etc.)? If so, what are the maxima and minima ((https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Maxima_and_minima)),​ so to speak, of this function? Or, what's the minimal or maximal amount of transparency needed for a healthy scientific enterprise?
blog/tacit-knowledge-and-science-communication-dilemmas.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/07 15:16 by seanburns