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Posthumanism, Lille & "New Forms of Science"

ByStefan GaillardOrcID

What does a congress on Posthumanism have in common with our journal? To be very honest, I had no idea at first. But, I was giving a talk there anyway, so I decided to ask whether I could give a short pitch on The Journal of Trial and Error. To my surprise, I was put on a panel together with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and Francesca Ferrando, two giants in the field. The topic of the panel was “Works in the field and publication perspectives”, which actually matched the subject of my talk somewhat nicely.

While preparing my talk, I saw more and more parallels with Posthumanism that I could draw on. For example, a truly open peer review process would facilitate a wisdom of the crowds type situation, where the collective intelligence of multiple peer reviewers would exceed the sum of their parts (if this already sounds too vague to you, don’t visit the congress).

The day of glory finally arrived near the end of the weeklong congress. I went on stage before more than a hundred scientists, philosophers, artists and entrepreneurs and gave the pitch of a lifetime. Slightly hindered by the fact that I forgot to turn off the automatic transition between slides every 20 seconds, I still managed to woe the crowd. Pictures were made, notes were taken, good times were had.

Afterwards, I thought I would encounter the classic problem: enthusiastic silence, i.e. people that were very passionate about the project but unwilling or unable to contribute themselves. While this was mostly true, there were some – notable – exceptions. One assistant professor from Germany approached me and offered to bring me into contact with some South American colleagues of hers who are working on new ways of conducting science. Intrigued, I took her up on her offer. Most of her contacts would be out of office, but she told me that in September everything would be set in motion. Exciting times ahead…

Stefan Gaillard
Co-founder, Editor, Special Issue Editor-in-Chief

Stefan Gaillard specializes in failure, uncertainty, and erroneous claims – both in science and society. He is one of the co-founders of the Journal of Trial and Error and currently works on the special issue on scientific failure in the health domain.