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Steve Elliott [11]Steven B. Elliott [1]
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Steve Elliott
Arizona State University
  1. An account of conserved functions and how biologists use them to integrate cell and evolutionary biology.Jeremy G. Wideman, Steve Elliott & Beckett Sterner - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (5):1-23.
    We characterize a type of functional explanation that addresses why a homologous trait originating deep in the evolutionary history of a group remains widespread and largely unchanged across the group’s lineages. We argue that biologists regularly provide this type of explanation when they attribute conserved functions to phenotypic and genetic traits. The concept of conserved function applies broadly to many biological domains, and we illustrate its importance using examples of molecular sequence alignments at the intersection of evolution and cell biology. (...)
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  2. How Data Governance Principles Influence Participation in Biodiversity Science.Beckett Sterner & Steve Elliott - 2023 - Science as Culture.
    Biodiversity science is in a pivotal period when diverse groups of actors—including researchers, businesses, national governments, and Indigenous Peoples—are negotiating wide-ranging norms for governing and managing biodiversity data in digital repositories. These repositories, often called biodiversity data portals, are a type of organization for which governance can address or perpetuate the colonial history of biodiversity science and current inequities. Researchers and Indigenous Peoples are developing and implementing new strategies to examine and change assumptions about which agents should count as salient (...)
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  3.  12
    Problems and Questions in Scientific Practice.Steve Elliott - manuscript
    THIS IS AN EARLY DRAFT OF MY PAPER "RESEARCH PROBLEMS" PUBLISHED IN BJPS IN 2021. PLEASE REFER TO THAT PAPER INSTEAD OF THIS ONE. -/- Philosophers increasingly study how scientists conduct actual scientific projects and the goals they pursue. But as of yet, there are few accounts of goals that can be used to identify different kinds, and specific instances, of goals pursued by scientists. I propose that there are at least four distinct kinds of goals pursued by scientists: ameliorating (...)
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  4.  26
    Institutional Values Influence the Design and Evaluation of Transition Knowledge in Funding Proposals at NOAA.Steve Elliott, Gina Eosco, Laura Newcomb & Joseph Conran - 2023 - Philosophy of Science 90:1286 - 1296.
    This paper shows how institutional values influence the design and evaluation of arguments in funding proposals for research. We characterize a general argument made within proposals and several kinds of subarguments that contribute to it. We indicate that funders’ values inform the kinds of proposal documents funders require and their relative weighting of them. We illustrate these points by showing how a program office in the U.S. federal agency NOAA uses its public service mission to require and heavily weigh arguments (...)
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  5. Proof of Concept Research.Steve Elliott - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (2):258-280.
    Researchers often pursue proof of concept research, but criteria for evaluating such research remain poorly specified. This article proposes a general framework for proof of concept research that k...
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  6. Research Problems.Steve Elliott - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1013-1037.
    To identify and conceptualize research problems in science, philosophers and often scientists rely on classical accounts of problems that focus on intellectual problems defined in relation to theories. Recently, philosophers have begun to study the structures and functions of research problems not defined in relation to theories. Furthermore, scientists have long pursued research problems often labeled as practical or applied. As yet, no account of problems specifies the description of both so-called intellectual problems and so-called applied problems. This article proposes (...)
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  7.  8
    Unified and pluralistic ideals for data sharing and reuse in biodiversity.Beckett Sterner, Steve Elliott, Ed Gilbert & Nico M. Franz - 2023 - Database 2023 (baad048):baad048.
    How should billions of species observations worldwide be shared and made reusable? Many biodiversity scientists assume the ideal solution is to standardize all datasets according to a single, universal classification and aggregate them into a centralized, global repository. This ideal has known practical and theoretical limitations, however, which justifies investigating alternatives. To support better community deliberation and normative evaluation, we develop a novel conceptual framework showing how different organizational models, regulative ideals and heuristic strategies are combined to form shared infrastructures (...)
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  8.  20
    Help with Data Management for the Novice and Experienced Alike.Steve Elliott, Kate MacCord & Jane Maienschein - 2022 - In Grant Ramsey & Andreas De Block (eds.), The Dynamics of Science: Computational Frontiers in History and Philosophy of Science. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 132–43.
    With the powerful analyses and resources they enable, digital humanities tools have captivated researchers from many different fields who want to use them to study science. Digital tools, as well as funding agencies, research communities, and academic administrators, require researchers to think carefully about how they conceptualize, manage, and store data, and about what they plan to do with that data once a given project is over. The difficulties of developing strategies to address these problems can prevent new researchers from (...)
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  9.  17
    The FAIR and CARE Data Principles Influence Who Counts As a Participant in Biodiversity Science by Governing the Fitness-for-Use of Data.Beckett Sterner & Steve Elliott - manuscript
    Biodiversity scientists often describe their field as aiming to save life and humanity, but the field has yet to reckon with the history and contemporary practices of colonialism and systematic racism inherited from natural history. The online data portals scientists use to store and share biodiversity data are a growing class of organizations whose governance can address or perpetuate and further institutionalize the implicit assumptions and inequitable social impacts from this extensive history. In this context, researchers and Indigenous Peoples are (...)
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  10.  24
    The Aims and Structures of Research Projects That Use Gene Regulatory Information with Evolutionary Genetic Models.Steve Elliott - 2017 - Dissertation, Arizona State University
    At the interface of developmental biology and evolutionary biology, the very criteria of scientific knowledge are up for grabs. A central issue is the status of evolutionary genetics models, which some argue cannot coherently be used with complex gene regulatory network (GRN) models to explain the same evolutionary phenomena. Despite those claims, many researchers use evolutionary genetics models jointly with GRN models to study evolutionary phenomena. This dissertation compares two recent research projects in which researchers jointly use the two kinds (...)
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  11.  16
    Bats, objectivity, and viral spillover risk.Beckett Sterner, Steve Elliott, Nate Upham & Nico Franz - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-5.
    What should the best practices be for modeling zoonotic disease risks, e.g. to anticipate the next pandemic, when background assumptions are unsettled or evolving rapidly? This challenge runs deeper than one might expect, all the way into how we model the robustness of contemporary phylogenetic inference and taxonomic classifications. Different and legitimate taxonomic assumptions can destabilize the putative objectivity of zoonotic risk assessments, thus potentially supporting inconsistent and overconfident policy decisions.
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