From the Science Wars to the Climate Debate: Peer Review and the Construction of Scientific Knowledge


From the Science Wars to the Climate Debate: Peer Review and the Construction of Scientific Knowledge

Dozent/in: Dr. Christoph Merdes

Angaben: Seminar, ECTS-Studium, ECTS-Credits: 5
geeignet als Schlüsselqualifikation, für Gasthörer zugelassen, Sprache Englisch
Zeit und Ort: Blockveranstaltung 17.3.2020-19.3.2020 Di-Do 9:00 – 15:00, 00.5 PSG; Blockveranstaltung 26.3.2020-27.3.2020 Do, Fr, Raum n.V.

Vorbesprechung: 30.1.2020, 18:00 – 20:00 Uhr

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Important: This seminar is intended to prepare the students to participate in the conference Public Research and Private Knowledge? Science in Times of Diverse Research Funding, 26th and 27th of March 2019. Presence both in the seminar and at least one conference day is required for credit. To enable the students to take part in discussions and ask questions, seminar discussions will also be in English (though of course it will be possible to ask questions in German when necessary). The term paper can be written in English or German.
The pre-meeting on 30 January takes place in 1.105 (Bismarckstr. 8).


The reliability of scientific results has always been a topic of debate, but has received new attention with the growing importance of the debate on climate change and the so-called replication crisis in psychology. Focusing on the central mechanism of quality control in scientific publication, peer review, this seminar is an attempt to analyze the complexity of this debate, which is rooted in fundamental disputes about the status of scientific knowledge, but also a very practical debate on the power, limitations and inevitability of this method of quality control.

Topic Overview:

  • Theoretical underpinnings: Constructivism, peer review and the Sokal affair

  • The practice of peer review: How peer review works, and how it can fail.

  • Wider consequences: Does criticism of peer review and a social constructivist view of science undermine the legitimacy of scientific knowledge, and if so, how can science inform policy, e.g. in the case of climate change?

Zusätzliche Informationen

Für diese Lehrveranstaltung ist eine Anmeldung erforderlich.
Die Anmeldung erfolgt von Montag, 2.9.2019, 8:00 Uhr bis Montag, 27.1.2020, 20:00 Uhr über: StudOn.
Institution: Zentralinstitut für Wissenschaftsreflexion und Schlüsselqualifikationen (ZiWiS)