The Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) Research Group is proud to witness the launch of a new blog. Here it is: a brand new space for LSTS researchers to share their work, exchange ideas, disseminate facts; another venue for intellectual provocations, for thinking together, and for calls to action and reactions.
Once upon a time there already was an LSTS blog. The vintage LSTS blog, still accessible here, saw the light in 2011 from the trenches of one of these interminable meetings in which researchers feel occasionally trapped, which are ultimately always useful to get some (different) things done.
That original LSTS blog had, as a matter of fact, many ambitions: it aimed to make up for the absence of an LSTS newsletter, as there was none (and there is still none, in case somebody wonders), but also to mitigate the many limitations of what was then the official LSTS website, not to mention that LSTS was not present on any social media. We needed a platform to disseminate information, and the blog delivered. We also needed a place to talk about books, explore CPDP archives, make documents available, and the blog brought us together.
Eventually, a Twitter account was created, respectfully named @LSTSblog. A new website saw the light, with regularly updated sections on news, events and much more. The seminal LSTS blog was progressively abandoned, roughly coinciding with LSTS celebrations of ’15 years of science and fun’.
This new blog has different objectives, but the researchers driving it share a vision: out of the trenches into the battlefield of scientific encounters, though not to kill an enemy but to confront an adversary or to present new territory.
The return of the blog
There are myriad fine lines between a scientific article, an essay, a review article and a case law annotation in a venerated law journal. Authors who cross disciplinary borders may be aware of further and yet other distinctions that could even lead some to qualify most law articles as an ‘opinion’ or ‘personal perspective’, uninformed by ‘the data’ or algebraic truth claims.
Amid information overload, the fast forward of legislative initiatives, the pandemic and other emergencies and forced reckoning with citation metrics and impact factors there is an urgent need to share dedicated, well-considered thoughts on matters of concern without the long process that goes with submitting, revising and publishing scientific books or articles. Not to replace scientific publication but to engage in another language game, less constrained by detailed referencing and tightly woven argumentation, providing a broader audience with key information on what researchers are up to in the realm of data protection law, AI law, STS and philosophy of technology in the context of law, fundamental rights impact assessments, surveillance, the political economy of micro-targeting and many other relevant LSTS subject matters.
The reincarnation of the LSTS blog will host work by LSTS researchers, hoping to contribute to the articulation of what matters, why and how, provoking others to comment and respond. It should help inspire our research agenda, generating ideas rather than catering to the constraints of writing a project proposal, hopefully giving rise to novel approaches that may be taken up in the course of one’s research.
Blogs were one of the first kinds of ‘user generated content’ when the world wide web emerged from Tim Berner Lee’s radical invention. They were soon overshadowed by the kind of ‘content postings’ key to social media, from Facebook to WhatsApp to Twitter to Instagram and to vlogging by new celebrities tagged as ‘influencers’. In the context of academia blogs have resurfaced as a means to engage with broader audiences, as various law journals, law schools, law domains, research projects and many other resources demonstrate.
We are looking forward to the ideas, provocations, useful overviews and brief discussions that will be posted here. We hope they will be a joy to read while giving cause to some in-depth thinking.
27 June 2022