1st conference on *Undone Science in Computer Science*

February 5, 2024 - February 6, 2024
University of Nantes


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FIRST CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS — please disseminate widely to your colleagues and networks (apologies for cross-posting)

1st conference on *Undone Science in Computer Science* — A conference to reflect on epistemological and ethical dimensions of computer science

   * *Nantes, France, 5-6 February 2024* (hybrid)
   * Calling for talk proposals (1-2 pages abstracts)
   * Post-proceedings model: we will send a call for full papers after the conference
   * Conference website: https://undonecs.sciencesconf.org/>


As researchers in computer science, we are committed to advancing the field in a way that is both epistemologically and ethically sound. The *Undone Computer Science conference* provides an informal venue to pause and reflect on these aspects. Our goal is to bring together computer scientists from across the field, but also philosophers of science, social scientists, etc., interested in discussing the ethical and epistemological dimensions of our work.

We welcome abstracts exploring these dimensions, and encourage submissions from a wide range of perspectives. *Abstracts should be 1-2 pages*, clearly outlining the main arguments and contributions of the proposed talk.

As a guiding question, we propose to apply the concept of Undone Science [1] to computer science. *Undone science* refers to questions that are left unaddressed, ignored, or underfunded for various reasons, yet demonstrably worthy of exploration. It highlights the idea that the production and dissemination of knowledge are variously influenced, leading to biases in the choice of research that is done, and eventually in a “systematic non-production of knowledge” [2].

Critical voices have recently highlighted corporate influences in AI ethics [3], reminding us of some of the society-impacting case studies which originally motivated the analytical concept of undone science. But undone science could also refer to the consequences of “theoretical commitments” [2], e.g. dominant paradigms, when they blind us collectively about what is worthy or not of exploration—while accounts of paradigm shifts in our young domain remain rare. Undone science has also been referring to questions first recognised by actors from civil society—for computer scientists, the free software movement and civil liberties organisations come to mind. We believe that *the concept of undone science can further help bring out* the epistemological and ethical aspects of research in computer science.

Undone Computer Science is an informal conference with post-proceedings: depending upon the eventual number and quality of submissions, we intend to follow up the conference with a call for full papers to be published in a journal. (It is not necessary to submit a full paper to present at the conference; nor is it necessary to present at the conference to answer the call for full papers.)


It is unnecessary to be familiar with the concept of undone science in order to contribute. *Potential topics include*, but are not limited to:

   * Areas of research meeting challenges that will require or have required *shifts in viewpoint*; conditions responsible for *certain kinds of research being over- or under-represented*; reasons for a set of *questions being neglected* in an area.

   * Epistemological questions and challenges arising from the *interdisciplinary nature* of computer science, or dealing with the articulations between theory and practice.

   * How *social movements or civil society organisations* (e.g. free software movement and probably others) play a role in identifying areas of research being left aside, in providing new research questions, or on the contrary in demanding that some kind of research remains undone.

   * Challenges of integrating ethical questioning regarding *social, economic, and environmental consequences* of our work into the process of making good science. Concrete examples of questions stemming from ethical consideration being introduced to a domain (why/how), are welcome.

   * How *ethics codes* (for instance the ACM Code of Ethics) can be leveraged (or fail) to present some questions as being worthy of exploration. How can (or cannot) guiding principles be put in place to enrich the research practices in an area, or to help professionals of computing in industry and academia?

   * Explorations of the *influence of publishing practices* within our community, and of popular research methodology and scientific writing guides provided within our fields, on the selection, execution, and dissemination of research.

   * Examinations of biases and limitations present in commonly-used *educational curricula* (for instance leading to or stemming from a lack of diversity, be it social or methodological)

   * More generally, any discussion of systematic non-production and non-dissemination of knowledge, whether in a specific area or in computer science in general; whether due to *limitations of available methodologies, blind spots of dominant paradigms, institutional and industrial biases, lack of social representation*, or other factors.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts, and to an engaging and thought-provoking conference.

The Organisers


   * *Submission deadline*: 10th October 2023 (anywhere on Earth)
   * *Author notification*: 27th November 2023
   * *Conference*: 5th-6th February 2024 in Nantes


   * Instructions:

      1. Abstracts should be 1-2 pages in length (excluding bibliography) and should succinctly present the key arguments and contributions of the proposed talk. The submission can contain appendices or a link to a longer version, but the point of the submission should be clear from the first two pages (reviewers are not obligated to read any further).
      2. Submissions should be uploaded to EasyChair:
         https://easychair.org/my/conference?conf=undonecs2024 in PDF format.
      3. The conference being aimed at a wide range of research domains, authors are welcome to include a brief biography (up to 5 lines). The review process is single-blind (reviewers are anonymous, but authors are not).
      4. For a paper accepted at the conference, at least one author is generally expected to present in person, but we will work to make remote presentations possible. (Feel free to inquire in advance with the organisers.)

   * Acceptance criteria:

      1. *Computer Science*: we seek contributions pertaining to computer science (in a broad sense),
      2. *Author expertise*: we expect authors to contribute in accordance with their domains of expertise, in a broad sense; for instance a contribution on ethical issues by a computer scientist can be rooted in their research practice, a contribution by a social scientist can be rooted in the study of an example or through field work. (This includes submissions by graduate students.)
      3. *Undone science*: we expect that the question of undone science will inspire presentations that lead to meaningful reflections on ethical or epistemological aspects of computer science. For instance, a submission could outline a potential ethical question derived from a detailed examination of real-world practices without delving into the ethical aspects in detail. (Feel free to inquire with the organisers about a potential topic.)
      4. Unfinished or exploratory contributions, that would benefit from discussion at the conference prior to their development into full papers, are most welcome.
      5. Members of the programme committee are allowed to submit talk proposals.

   * We will endeavour to always give considerate and constructive feedback about proposed abstracts.
   * Accepted abstracts will be made available online in the programme of the conference.


   * There are no fees for registration, but /registration is mandatory/ to attend.
   * The venue has good accessibility and we strive to make our conference accessible; more information will be provided on the website of the conference. Feel free to inquire with the organisers.
   * A very limited number of travel grants might be offered for speakers who require it. Feel free to inquire in advance with the organisers.
   * The talks will be streamed online.

Visit the website https://undonecs.sciencesconf.org/> for more information.


Ihsen Alouani (Queens University, Belfast)
Marc Anderson (Inria)
Enka Blanchard (CNRS & LAMIH)
Simon Castellan (Inria)
Pierre-Antoine Chardel (Institut Mines-Télécom Business School)
Christine Eisenbeis (Inria)
Chantal Enguehard, Chair (Univ. Nantes)
Laurence Favier (Univ. Lille)
Jean-Daniel Fekete (Inria)
Karën Fort (Sorbonne Université & LORIA)
Alessio Guglielmi (University of Bath)
Guillaume Munch-Maccagnoni, Chair (Inria)
Alberto Naibo (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Norberto Patrignani (Politecnico Di Torino)
Maël Pégny (Freelance data scientist; formerly Uni. Tübingen)
Tomas Petricek (Charles University, Prague)
Sophie Quinton (Inria)
Catherine Tessier (ONERA)


Guillaume Munch-Maccagnoni, Chantal Enguehard, Maël Pégny, Marc Anderson

Contact us at [email protected]>.


[1] D. J. Hess (2016). Undone Science: Social Movements, Mobilized Publics, and Industrial Transitions. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262529495.

[2] Frickel, S., Gibbon, S., Howard, J., Kempner, J., Ottinger, G., & Hess, D. J. (2010). Undone Science: Charting Social Movement and Civil Society Challenges to Research Agenda Setting. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 35(4), 444–473.

[3] According to Green, tech ethics increasingly tends to be “subsumed into corporate logics and incentives”. According to Abdalla and Abdalla, actions of “Big Tech” to influence academic and public discourse are reminiscent of the tactics of Big Tobacco.

       B. Green (2021). "The Contestation of Tech Ethics: A Sociotechnical Approach to Technology Ethics in Practice," in Journal of Social Computing, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 209-225, September 2021. https://doi.org/10.23919/JSC.2021.0018

       M. Abdalla & M. Abdalla (2021). The Grey Hoodie Project: Big Tobacco, Big Tech, and the Threat on Academic Integrity. In Proceedings of the 2021 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 287–297. https://doi.org/10.1145/3461702.3462563

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January 21, 2024, 9:00am CET

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