, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 83–85 | Cite as


Sabina Leonelli: Data-centric biology: A philosophical study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016, 275 pp., $35.00 PB
  • Philip Mirowski
Book Review

This is one of the most important books published in science studies over the last few years, and generalist readers should not be put off by its seemingly narrow topic, namely the actualization and validation of the vast mass of biological data encoded in digital formats, so that it may be ‘shared’ amongst relevant scientists. One should take the subtitle seriously: the world is bloated with attempts by philosophers to clarify the fine points of empiricism in science, but almost none of that achieves anything near the level of insight and enlightenment achieved in this short book. Perhaps more surprisingly, few authors prove capable of grasping the profound transformations happening in the political economy of science with greater sensitivity than Leonelli. Her pungent observations deserve the attention of anyone interested in the meaning and significance of the ‘Open Science’ movement, something she has stressed in another recent publication (Leonelli et al. 2015).

Leonelli starts...


  1. Howlett, Peter, and Mary Morgan. 2011. How well do facts travel?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Leonelli, Sabina, Daniel Spichtinger, and Barbara Prainsack. 2015. Sticks and carrots: Encouraging open science at its source. Geo 2: 12–16.Google Scholar
  3. Mirowski, Philip. 2011. ScienceMart: Privatizing American science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Reilly Center for Science, Technology and ValuesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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