New forms of evaluation are reconfiguring science in ways we are only beginning to understand. Through the rich case of ocean science, this project addresses a key challenge in social-scientific research regarding how evaluations are implicated in scientific understandings of the world. Ocean science is increasingly multivalent. Not only is it expected to contribute to a more systemic understanding of the ocean as an ecosystem, it is also called on to analyze environmental effects of climate change, and help fight effects of intensified exploitation. At the same time, it operates in a highly research-focused and efficiency-oriented academic system whose norms partly work against societal relevance. The ambition of FluidKnowledge is to 1) investigate how research agendas are shaped in ocean scientific research; 2) analyze how the value of ocean science is enacted in European and national science policy contexts; 3) develop concepts on the basis of the outcomes of 1) and 2), to theoretically grasp how research evaluation shapes knowledge making. Ocean science provides a planet-critical research site in which to analyze how steering efforts toward interdisciplinary engagement and societal relevance relate to other norms and criteria of scientific quality (e.g. excellence) in actual practice. This project creates a new interface between longitudinal scientometric analysis and rich ethnographic studies. This paves the way for a new interdisciplinary field. A second contribution is conceptual. Whereas many evaluation experts treat the heterogeneity of practice as a problem, I engage such heterogeneity as a resource. The project will build theory that encourages a more comprehensive understanding of how evolving evaluation and knowledge production are mutually implicated. A third novelty is the focus on ocean science. Systematic analysis of its workings and policy implications is crucial for understanding a world in which trust in scientific knowledge is no longer obvious.
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