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'Red Squirrels, Big Data, and the Birth of Behavioral Ecology'
Erika Milam (Princeton University)

Red Squirrels in the Yukon harvest pinecones and stash them in large middens that they consume over several years. When one squirrels dies, another can inherit their stash. The same might be said of scientists and their archives of behavioral data built on decades of research, whether on squirrels such as these or various other species around the world. Even projects led by a single charismatic individual are sustained through intricate collaborative networks of students, postdocs, and collaborators. Negotiating these networks required establishing norms of data sharing between experts trained in different fields and at different stages of their careers. This talk explores social shifts within this community to computerized records in the 1980s and then the disparate reactions among scientists over calls for open-data sharing in the 1990s and 2000s.

The seminar in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology is convened by Alex Aylward (University of Oxford), Hohee Cho (Wolfson College), Mark Harrison (Green Templeton College), Catherine Jackson (Harris Manchester College), and Sloan Mahone (University of Oxford)