Digital Scientific Practice in Systems Medicine
The development of systems medicine has only been possible through the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to handle the large volume and variety of data on health and disease. High-capacity databases and infrastructures based on ICT were established to support systematization and integration of data about complex physiological and pathological processes in cells and organisms. Although such infrastructures are essential for research and collaboration, they are often not regarded as being an integral part of the knowledge production itself. On the contrary, we argue that ICT is not only a science-supporting technology, but is deeply engraved in its scientific practices of knowledge generation. Findings supporting our argument are derived from an empirical case study in which we analysed the complex and dynamic relationship between systems medicine and information technology. The case under study was an international research project in which an integrated European ICT infrastructure was designed and developed in support of the systems oriented research community in oncology. By tracing the specific ways that systems medicine research produces, stores, and manages data in an ICT environment, this paper discusses the impact of ICT employed and to assess the consequences it may have for the process of knowledge production in systems medicine.
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