Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Rosalind Attenborough

Rosalind Attenborough
Rosalind Attenborough
School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK

PhD title

Scientific openness: a new epistemic virtue?

Research context

“There is scarcely a scientist who has not stumbled upon the term ‘Open Science’ of late and there is hardly a scientific conference where the word and its meaning are not discussed in some form or other.”  (Fecher and Friesike, 2014, p. 17)

Scientific openness is very old: for centuries, the communal sharing of findings has been valued, even if not practised, in the cultural sphere of academic science. But scientific openness is also very new: since the turn of the twenty-first century, a pursuit of “openness” – including open access and open data – has become increasingly salient in scientific discourse, practice, and policy. My research investigates contemporary meanings of “open” in science, drawing on historical context, policy documents, and primarily, interviews with biological scientists. I am using epistemic virtue as a sensitising concept to ask whether new moral frameworks for knowledge making (and associated ways of being a “good” scientist) are under construction in the contemporary embrace of openness.


Funding and Awards

2015-2019: Economic and Social Research Council Studentship (ESRC 1+3)

2010: University Medal in Biology, Australian National University

2010: Janet Elspeth Crawford Prize (top female Honours student in science),  Australian National University


2015-2016: MSc by Research in Science and Technology Studies (with Distinction), University of Edinburgh

2014-2015: MSc in Science, Technology and Society (with Distinction), University College London

2007-2010: Bachelor of Philosophy (Science) with First Class Honours, Australian National University 

Professional experience

2017 Jan-Jul: Student Transitions PhD Intern, Institute for Academic Development (with Academic Services), University of Edinburgh

2012-2014: Publications Manager for the journal PLOS Genetics, Public Library of Science (PLOS), Cambridge, UK

2011-2012: Publications Assistant for the journal PLOS GeneticsPublic Library of Science (PLOS), Cambridge, UK

2010 Feb-Jun: Science Communication Tutor, Australian National University

2006, 2010-2011: Laboratory Technical Assistant, Research School of Biology, Australian National University

Papers and conferences

STS papers

Attenborough R (2016) Reflections on virtue and identity  in an “open science revolution”. Presented at the 4S/EASST conference: Science and Technology By Other Means, Barcelona, Spain. [link]

Biology papers

Attenborough R, Hayward D, Kitahara MV, Miller DJ, Ball EE (2012) A “neural” enzyme in non-bilaterian animals and algae: Pre-neural origins for peptidylglycine α-amidating monooxygenase (PAM). Molecular Biology and Evolution 29: 3095-3109. [link]

Attenborough R, Wiedemann U, Hayward D, Forêt S, Miller D, Ball E (2011) The Acropora millepora nervous system: neurotransmitters and development. Presented at the ARC CoE Boden Conference Genome Biology of Corals and their Relatives, Magnetic Island, Australia.

French HJ, Attenborough R, Hardy K, Shannon MF, Williams RBH (2009) Interindividual variation in epigenomic phenomena in humans. Mammalian Genome 20: 604-611. [link]

Warren WC, Hillier LW, Graves JAM, Birney E, [...] Attenborough R et al. (2008) Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature 453: 175-256. [link]