Science necessitates collaboration

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Science necessitates collaboration is a lecture about how collaboration is necessary condition for scientific development and how collaboration can be facilitated by means of web-based formal argumentation.


Purpose: To describe the role of collaboration in science and how web-based formal argumentation can be used in facilitating scientific collaboration.

Intended audience: Researchers (especially at doctoral student level) in any field of science (mainly natural, not social scientists).

Duration: 2 x 1 hour 15 minutes


The lecture consists of two parts: the first discussing what collaboration means in the context of science and how it is operationalized in open assessment, the second part discusses more technically how to collaborate in open assessment by means of web-based formal argumentation.

In order to understand this lecture it is recommended to first acquaint oneself with the following lectures:


  • Learn why collaboration is better than working alone.
  • Learn to apply the scientific method, and the importance of it in open assessment.
  • Learn the structure of formal argumentation.
  • Learn how to collaborate


Part I:

Part II:

  • web-based pragma-dialectical argumentation
    • hypothesis
    • statement about hypothesis
    • arguments for and/or against statement
    • arguments for and/or against arguments
  • unless a statement becomes invalidated, the hypothesis must be refined accordingly

Exercises (all groups):

  1. Choose (as a group) a variable that another group developed on Tuesday (see list of variables in the table above). Scrutinize the variable carefully and, according to your expertise and understanding, create statements and arguments about the variable content. Keep in mind the case assessment the variable relates to. Document the statements as well as the arguments for against your group comes up with on the discussion page of the variable following the formal argumentation structure (see links below). It is also possible to first collect comments informally, analyse the comments and then reorganize them in the argumentation format. Consider and argue in particular:
    • Is the scope unambiguously defined (what is the question the variable attempts to answer to)?
    • Does the definition provide the sufficient means to answer the question adequately?
    • Is the result an exact and explicit logical outcome of the definition?
    • Does the result appear reasonable and meaningful?
  2. Go back to the variable you (as a group) developed on Tuesday and scrutinize the argumentation that another group has created about the contents of your variable. React to the argumentation by counter arguing or by improving the variable contents as seen necessary.
  3. Prepare a short presentation about the argumentation about your group's variable description invoked and how it was or should be taken into account in further development and use of that variable.