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Egenis · People

Dr. Sabina Leonelli

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications

BSc, MSc, PhD, HEA, MBS

Telephone

01392 725137

Fax

01392 724676

Email

S.Leonelli@exeter.ac.uk

Room

FF12

Building

Byrne House

Biography

My research spans the fields of history and philosophy of biology, science and technology studies and general philosophy of science (in particular of science practices such as data sharing, abstraction, modelling and concept-formation). I pursue an approach to philosophy of science that is grounded on the empirical study of scientific practices, as informed by historical research, ethnographic methods used in the social studies of science and technology, and collaboration with practicing scientists. My current work focuses on the philosophy, history and sociology of data-intensive science, especially the rhetorics of 'data-driven research', its relation to practices of data handling online and experimentation, and the role of digital technologies and automation in biological and biomedical research -- particularly model organism biology and plant science.

From 2012 to 2016, I serve as a member of the Global Young Academy, the 'voice of young scientists around the world'. I am also the Director of Postgraduate Studies of the Department of Sociology and Philosophy at Exeter, and the Associate Editor of History, Philosophy of the Life Sciences. I serve on the boards of the Society for the Philosophy of Science in Practice, the journals Medicina e Storia and The Reasoner, and I am a member of the steering committee of the plant community GARNet and of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research. Further, I am involved in the co-ordination of the UK Network for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science (meeting annually), the European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences (meeting biannually) and the international project 'Knowledge/Value' led by Kaushik Sunder Rajan at the University of Chicago. I coordinate the UK Network for the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Plant Science, and am trying to attract funding to improve its web visibility and resources.

CV

Sabina Leonelli CV [PDF]

Research

My research focuses on the philosophy, sociology and history of cyberinfrastructures and bioinformatics, especially the rhetorics of 'data-driven research', its relation to practices of data handling online and experimentation in vivo, and the role of AI and automation in biological and biomedical research. I am particularly interested in experimental and modeling practices associated to model organism research, and it is in that context that I carry out most of my empirical work.

At Egenis I have currently two main project, each encompassing subprojects:

(1) data-intensive research in the biological and biomedical sciences, which comprises philosophical issues in bioinformatics, the regulatory role of bioinformatics and , and

(2) the with special attention to plant science and the case of .

My work analyses the relations between regulatory, experimental and classificatory practices within contemporary biomedical science, with particular attention to the role played by bioinformatics in data sharing and re-use. From a philosophical perspective, I am interested in the epistemological and ontological assumptions underlying the choice of taxonomies, models and instruments in bioinformatics and experimental biology. I believe that such assumptions play an important role in determining what counts as knowledge and as legitimate research objects within contemporary biology and biomedicine. From a sociological perspective, I compare and analyse the processes through which bioinformatic standards (such as bio-ontologies) are decided upon, institutionalised and used to govern biological and biomedical research. I pay particular attention to the interactions between public funders, government and scientists throughout these processes.

Career history

I hold a BSc in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science from University College London, an MSc in History and Philosophy of Science from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Philosophy of Science from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where carried out my doctoral research as part of the project ‘Understanding Scientific Understanding’. My PhD analysed the ways in which biologists manipulate and conceptualise model organisms (and particularly the plant Arabidopsis thaliana) to gain some understanding of biological phenomena, thus allowing me to combine a historical survey with a sociological analysis of this kind of ‘big science’, leading to a philosophical discussion of what it means to understand scientifically. Before arriving in Exeter, I worked as a research officer in the Leverhulme/ESRC project ‘How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel?’ based at the Department of Economic History of the London School of Economics. Participation in this project enabled me to investigate what happens when small facts such as data circulate across research contexts and are used as evidence towards a variety of claims about phenomena. This awoke my interest in data sharing practices and in the role played by digital tools and standards in ‘packaging’ small facts for travel. From 2002 to 2007, I have served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Graduate Journal of Social Science.

Publications

Journal articles

Leonelli, S. Open Data and the Political Economies of Bioscience (in preparation).

Davies, G., Frow, E. and Leonelli, S. Bigger, Faster, Better? Rhetorics and Practices of Large-Scale Research in Contemporary Bioscience (under review).

Leonelli, S. Global data for local science (under review).

Ankeny, R. and Leonelli, S. What Makes a Model Organism? (under review)

Leonelli, S., Ramsden, E., Nelson, N. and Ankeny, R.A. Making Organisms Model Humans: Situated Models in Alcohol Research. Science in Context (accepted pending revisions).

Leonelli, S. Integrating Data to Acquire New Knowledge: Three Modes of Integration in Plant Science. Studies in the History and the Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Part C (forthcoming).

Leonelli, S. Data interpretation in the Digital Age. Perspectives on Science (forthcoming).

Sunder Rajan, K. and Leonelli, S. Biomedical Trans-actions: Translational Research, Postgenomics and Knowledge/Value. Public Culture (forthcoming).

Leonelli, S. Classificatory Theory in Biology. Biological Theory 7(1), 2012. Online First.

Leonelli, S., Charnley, B., Webb, A. and Bastow, R. Under One Leaf. A Historical Perspective on the UK Plant Science Federation. New Phytologist 195(1), 2012, 10-13.

Leonelli, S. Classificatory Theory in Data-Intensive Science: The Case of Open Biomedical Ontologies. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26(1), 2012, 47-65.

Leonelli, S., When Humans Are the Exception: Cross-Species Databases at the Interface of Clinical and Biological Research. Social Studies of Science 42(2), 2012, 214-236.

Leonelli, S., Making Sense of Data-Driven Research in the Biological and the Biomedical Sciences. Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43(1), 2012, 1-3.

Leonelli, S. and Ankeny, R.A., Re-Thinking Organisms: The Epistemic Impact of Databases on Model Organism Biology. Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43(1), 2012, 29-36.

Leonelli, S., Book Review: Ordinary Genomes: Science, Citizenship, and Genetic Identities by Karen Sue-Taussig. Acta Biotheoretica, 2012. Online First.

Ankeny, R.A., and Leonelli, S., 'Bioethics Authorship in Context: How Trends in Biomedicine Challenge Bioethics.' American Journal of Bioethics, 11(10), 2011, 22-24.

Leonelli, S., Diehl, A.D., Christie, K.R., Harris, M.A. and Lomax, J., 'How the Gene Ontology Evolves', BMC Bioinformatics, 12, 2011, pp 325 - 332.

Ankeny, R.A. and Leonelli, S., 'What is so special about model organisms?', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science: Part A, 42 (2), 2011, pp 313-323.

O'Malley, M.A. and Leonelli, S., 'The scientific importance of asking questions at meetings: Why virtual debate is not enough', BioEssays, 33 (1), 2011, pp 35-37.

Leonelli, S. and Bastow, R., 'Sustaining digital infrastructures', EMBO Reports, 11 (10), 2010, pp 730-735.

Leonelli, S. 'Machine Science: The Human Side', Science 330 (6002), 2010: p 317.

Leonelli, S., ‘Documenting the emergence of bio-ontologies: Or, why researching bioinformatics requires HPSSB.’ History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 32 (1), 2010, pp 105-126.

Leonelli, S. and Howlett, P., ‘How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel?’ Graduate Journal of Social Science, 6(2), 2009, pp 1–2. (editorial to special issue.)

Leonelli, S., ‘On the Locality of Data and Claims About Phenomena.’ Philosophy of Science 76 (5), 2009, pp 737-749.

Leonelli, S., ‘Bio-Ontologies as Tools for Integration in Biology.’ Biological Theory, 3 (1), 2008, pp 8-11.

Leonelli, S., ‘Performing Abstraction. Two Ways of Modelling Arabidopsis thaliana.’ Biology and Philosophy, 23(4), 2008, pp 509-528.

Leonelli, S., ‘Growing Weed, Producing Knowledge. A Epistemological History of Arabidopsis thaliana.’ em>History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 29(2), 2007, pp 55-87.

Leonelli, S., ‘Arabidopsis, the Botanical Drosophila: From Mouse-Cress to Model Organism.’ Review article. Endeavour, 31(1), 2007, pp 34-38.

Leonelli, S., ‘Naar een Open Dialoog Tussen de Wetenschap en de Wetenschapsstudies.’ Congresbespreking, Algemeen Nederland Tijdschrijft Wijsbegeerte, 99(3), 2007, pp 237-240.

Leonelli, S., ‘Forming Civic Consciousness: A Participant’s View on the European Social Forum.’ Re-Public: Re-Imagining Democracy, 2006.

Leonelli, S., ‘Pluralism and Normativity in Interdisciplinary Research.’ Graduate Journal of Social Science, 2 (1), 2005, pp i-vi.

Leonelli, S. and Reydon, T.A.C., ‘Philosophy of Biology in Flanders and the Netherlands.’ Acta Biotheoretica, 53 (2), 2005, pp 55-56.

Chang, H. and Leonelli, S., ‘Infrared Metaphysics: the Elusive Ontology of Radiation (Part 1).’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science: Part A, 36(3), 2005, pp 477-508.

Chang, H. and Leonelli, S., ‘Infrared Metaphysics: Theory-Choice and the Ontology of Radiation (Part 2).’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science: Part A, 36(4), 2005, pp 687-706.

Ortmann, S. and Leonelli, S., ‘Unity in Social Science?’ Graduate Journal of Social Science, 2(2), 2005, pp i-v.

Leonelli, S., ‘Introducing the GJSS: Why a Graduate Journal on Interdisciplinary Methodology?’ Graduate Journal of Social Science, 1(1), 2004, pp i-vii.

Edited Special Issues

‘Bigger, Faster, Better? Rhetorics and Practices of Large-Scale Research in Contemporary Bioscience’ (with Davies, G. and Frow, E.) (under review).

‘Translational Research in the Life Sciences’ (with Sunder Rajan, K.) Folio section, Public Culture (forthcoming, 2013).

‘Data-driven research in the biological and biomedical sciences’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Part C, 2012.

‘How Well Do Facts Travel?’ Graduate Journal of Social Science, 2009.

‘The Philosophy of Biology in the Netherlands and Flanders’ (with Reydon, T.), Acta Biotheoretica, 2005.

‘Unity in Social Science’, Graduate Journal of Social Science, 2005.

Edited Volume

de Regt, H., Leonelli, S. and Eigner, K. (eds.), Scientific Understanding: A Philosophical Perspective. 2009. Pittsburgh University Press.

Book Chapters

Ankeny, R.A. and Leonelli, S. Credit attribution and knowledge production in post-genomic biology: who is an author and does it matter? (accepted pending revisions).

Leonelli, S., ‘Packaging Data for Re-Use: Databases in Model Organism Biology', in: Morgan, M. and Howlett, P. (eds.), How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel? The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge. 2010. Cambridge University Press.

Leonelli, S., ‘The Commodification of Knowledge Exchange: Governing the Circulation of Biological Data.’ in: Radder, H. (ed.), The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University. 2010, Pittsburgh University Press, pp 132-157.

De Regt, H., Leonelli, S., and Eigner, K. ‘Focusing on Scientific Understanding.’ in: de Regt, H. et al (eds.), Scientific Understanding: A Philosophical Perspective. 2009. Pittsburgh University Press.

Leonelli, S., ‘The Impure Nature of Biological Knowledge.’ in: de Regt, H. et al (eds.), Scientific Understanding: A Philosophical Perspective. 2009. Pittsburgh University Press.

Leonelli, S., ‘Centralising Labels to Distribute Data: The Regulatory Role of Genomic Consortia.’ in: Atkinson, P., Glasner, P. and Lock, M. (eds.) The Handbook for Genetics and Society: Mapping the New Genomic Era. 2009, Routledge, London, pp. 469-485.

Leonelli, S., ‘What is in a Model? Using Theoretical and Material Models to Develop Intelligible Theories.’ in: Laubichler, M. and Muller, G.B. (eds.), Modeling Biology. Structures, Behaviour, Evolution, 2007, Vienna Series, MIT Press.

Leonelli, S., ‘Cultivando Hierba, Produciendo conocimiento. Una historia epistemologica de Arabidopsis thaliana.’ in: Suarez, E. (ed.), Variedad Sin Limites. Las Rapresentaciones en la Ciencia, 2007, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico y Editor Limusa.

Book Reviews

Leonelli, S. Book Review: Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States by Joseph November. Social Studies of Medicine(forthcoming).

Leonelli, S. Book Review: Ordinary Genomes: Science, Citizenship, and Genetic Identities by Karen-Sue-Taussig. Acta Biotheoretica 60(3), 2012, pp 319-322.

Leonelli, S. Book Review: An Epistemology of the Concrete: Twentieth-Century Histories of Life, by Hans-Joerg Rheinberger. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25(4), 2011, 421-423.

Online contributions, encyclopaedia entries and working papers

Leonelli, S., ‘Data-Intensive Research’. In: Dubitzky, W., Wolkenhauer, O., Cho, K-H. and Yokota, H. (eds.), Encyclopaedia of System Biology, 2013, Springer.

Leonelli, S., ‘Model Organism’. In: Dubitzky, W., Wolkenhauer, O., Cho, K-H. and Yokota, H. (eds.), Encyclopaedia of System Biology, 2013, Springer.

Leonelli, S., ‘Bio-Ontologies’. In: Dubitzky, W., Wolkenhauer, O., Cho, K-H. and Yokota, H. (eds.), Encyclopaedia of System Biology, 2013, Springer.

Leonelli, S. ‘curation’, ‘stock centres’, ‘community databases’ and ‘metadata’ [short entries]. In: Dubitzky, W., Wolkenhauer, O., Cho, K-H. and Yokota, H. (eds.), Encyclopaedia of System Biology, 2013, Springer.

Leonelli, S. Open Data and Privacy Concerns in Biomedical Research. Open Knowledge Foundation blog and Open Science blog, 2012.

Leonelli, S. The Brain Drain. Britain in 2013, 2012, p.88.

Leonelli, S. and Barwich, A. Editorial: Philosophy and Experiments. The Reasoner, 2012.

Donaghy, J. and Leonelli, S. Interview with Giovanna Colombetti. The Reasoner, 2012.Leonelli, S., 'The Human Face of Data-Intensive Biology', the gen - The Newsletter of the ESRC Genomics Network, issue 13, March 2011, pp 10-12.

Leonelli, S., Key concerns that should travel between e-social and e-natural science. E-Research Ethics Website, 2010. http://eresearch-ethics.org/

Leonelli, S., ‘Regulating Data Travel in the Life Sciences: The Impact of Commodification.’ LSE Working Papers on the Nature of Evidence: How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel?, No. 27/08, 2008.

Leonelli, S., ‘Circulating Evidence Across Research Contexts: The Locality of Data and Claims in Model Organism Biology.’ LSE Working Papers on the Nature of Evidence: How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel?, No. 25/08, 2008.

Leonelli, S., ‘Understanding Infrared Metaphysics: Melloni’s Quest for Identity.’ Measurement in Physics and Economics Discussion Paper Series, DP MEAS 22/02, ISSN1465-637X.

Consultations and policy reports

Egenis/GARNet Report (with Bastow, R.): Making Data Available to All, October 2012.

Contributed to ICSU Advisory Note: Revaluing Science in the Digital Age, October 2012.

Co-author of Global Young Academy Position Statements on Sustainability (June 2012) and Open Science (October 2012).

Response to BBSRC Consultation on Digital Organisms, with GARNet, September 2012.

Report for GARNet/BBSRC: ‘Business Models for Database Funding’. April 2010.

on ‘New Approaches to Biofuels’. March 2010.

Response to OECD Consultation on ‘Data Sharing in Genomics’. June 2008.

Conference proceedings

Leonelli, S., A HPSSB (History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology) Perspective on Biomedical Ontologies. eScience-2009: Workshop Proceedings.

Leonelli, S., The Role of Bio-Ontologies In Data-Driven Research: A Philosophical Perspective. Nature Precedings Collection, 2009.

Dissertation

Leonelli, S., Weed for Thought. Using Arabidopsis thaliana to Understand Plant Biology.’ PhD Dissertation, 2007, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Selected Recent Presentations

Invited lecture at International Conference ’Historicizing Big Data’, Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (30/10-02/11/2013).

Invited lecture at the Centre for STM, Manchester University: Data integration and translational research: the case of plant science, Fall.

Contributed talk to thematic session ‘Data at Work’, Manchester (23-27/07/2013): ‘Putting data to work in plant science, 1990-2012’.

Contributed talk to ISH, Montpellier, (7-10/07/2013): ‘The ethos of organism-based communities’.

Contributed talk to BSPS, Exeter, (4-6/06/2013): ‘What Counts as the Context of Scientific Inquiry?’ (with R. Ankeny).

Contributed talk to Biannual Meeting of the Society for the Philosophy of Science in Practice, Toronto: ‘What counts as knowledge in plant science? Philosophical challenges from green translational research’.

Invited lecture at workshop ’ Quality and accuracy of genetic data and knowledge produced by next- generation sequencing (NGS), Institute Curie, Paris, (6-7/06/2013): Understanding the science behind big- data production: Epistemological assumptions.

Invited lecture at workshop ’Bioproperty: Animals’, Oxford University (23-24/05/2013).

Keynote lecture at Conference ’Crossing the Divides: Exploring Boundaries and Overlaps Between Sociology and Philosophy of Science and Bioethics’, Brunel University, London (13-15/05/2013): Reframing the context of scientific inquiry: from Reichenbach to Dewey.

Invited lecture at Annual Meeting of the Exeter Initiative for Statistics and Its Applications (EXISTA) (25/04/2013): ’A philosophical perspective on data-intensive biology'.

Invited lecture at the Department of Philosophy, UC Davies (17/04/2013).

Invited participation as UK representative: AHRC/NSF Conference ’Biomedical Humanities’. University of Maryland, Washington (10-12/04/2013).

Keynote lecture at the 5th Workshop in the Philosophy of Information, University of Hertfordshire (26-27/03/2013): ’Data integration and the management of information in contemporary biology’.

Invited lecture at British Society for the Philosophy of Science ordinary meeting, London School of Economics (11/03/2013): Three Modes of Integration in Plant Science.

Invited talk at STS Seminar, University of Edinburgh (18/02/2013): Life in the Digital Age: ’The Impact of Open Science and Digital Technologies on Biological Research’.

(with Ankeny) Invited talk at International Conference ’Modeling Complexity’, University of Exeter, (13-14/12/2012): Digital organisms.

(with Ankeny, Nelson and Ramsden) Contributed Talk at HSS meeting in San Diego, (11/2012): ’Making Organisms Model Humans: Situated Models in Alcohol Research’.

Invited lecture at STS Seminar, University College London, (12/11/2012): ’Life in the Digital Age: The Impact of Open Science and Digital Technologies on Biological Research’

Contributed talk at EASST/4S meeting in Copenhagen, (10/2012): ’Design through dispacement: Understanding life in the digital age’.

Invited final commentary at International Workshop on Modelling Animals, University of Manchester, (21-22/09/2012): ’Epistemology of animal models’.

Invited lecture at European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of Biology, theme ’Models in vivo, in vitro, in silico’, Brocher Foundation, Geneva, (10-14/09/2012): ’Model organisms in vivo and in silico’

Conference ‘Information, Databases and Archives’, Beijing (6-7/9/2012): 'Data Practices in Plant Science'.

Royal Society/Intern. Council for Science Conference ’Revaluing Science in the Digital Age’ (09/2012): 'Shifting Values in Data-Intensive Science'

Symposium ‘Why Google Won’t Replace Science’, Department of Biology, University of Vienna (13-14/06/2012): 'Promise and Dangers of Data-Intensive Biology'

'Using digital infrastructures to facilitate governance at the national and international levels', talk at Annual Meeting of the Global Young Academy: 'Sustainability: Lessons on the Road from Rio to Rio+20', Johannesburg, 20-23 May 2012.

'Data integration and community data sharing: Three types of integrative efforts', International Conference on Integration in Biomedicine, University of Sydney, 3-4 May 2012.

'Understanding life in the digital age: Towards a philosophy of data-intensive biology’, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, 30 April 2012.

‘Towards an Epistemology of e-Biology’, Centre for the Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, December 2011.

‘Respect for Epistemic Diversity: A Guiding Principle for Biological Cyberinfrastructures’, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, November 2011.

Invited commentaries at ‘Knowledge/Value’ Conference, University of Chicago, November 2011.

‘The epistemic impact of data-intensive methods in biology’, Bristol University, 14 October 2011.

‘Classificatory Theory in Experimental Biology’, International Workshop on The Meaning of Theory in Biology, Konrad Lorenz Institute, Altenberg, Austria, July 2011.

Talk at International Conference ‘Making Sense of Large Datasets’ (Exeter, June 20-21 2011).

‘Chasing Phenomena’, invited discussion at Knowledge/Value Conference, University of Chicago, 3-5 June 2011.

‘When HPS Critiques Science: An Achievement or a Problem?’, Integrated HPS meeting at University of Cambridge.

‘Towards an Epistemology of e-Biology’, McGill University, Montreal, 23 March 2011.

‘Is e-science necessarily big science?’, Making It Big Workshop, Exeter, March 2011.

'The Experimental Context in silico', seminar at the Centre for the History of Science at the University of Bologna, December 2010.

‘Understanding Data in the Digital Age’, ESF Conference ‘Points of Contact Between Philosophy of Biology and Philosophy of Physics’, London School of Economics, December 2010.

Panel on e-social science at ESRC National Research Methods Festival, Oxford, July 7 2010.

‘Experimental Biology In Silico’, International Workshop Understanding and the Aims of Science, Lorentz Centre, University of Leiden, June 2010.

‘When Humans Are the Exception: Cyberinfrastructure Across Species’, 2010 Gordon Cain Conference ‘Personalized medicine here and now: Empirical studies of post-genomic medicine’, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, 5-6 May 2010.

‘Bioinformatics and biology in the 21st century’, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, 4 February 2010.

‘Documenting the Emergence of the Gene Ontology: An HPSS Approach’, at workshop ‘Web Semantics in Action: Web 3.0 in e-Science’, within 5th IEEE International Conference on e-Science, Oxford, 11 December 2009.

‘Dynamic (Bio)Ontologies for Good Epistemology’, History and Philosophy of Science Seminar, Cambridge, 19 November 2009.

‘On the Role of Theory in Data-Driven Research: The Case of Bio-Ontologies’, Biannual Meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association, Amsterdam, 23 October 2009.

‘Issue-Based Scientific Governance’, EGN conference, Cardiff, 8 October 2009.

‘From Humble Weed to Botanical Drosophila’, History of Genetics Day, John Innes Centre, Norwich, 9 September 2009.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the philosophy, sociology and history of cyberinfrastructures and bioinformatics, especially the rhetorics of 'data-driven research', its relation to practices of data handling online and experimentation in vivo, and the role of AI and automation in biological and biomedical research. I am particularly interested in experimental and modeling practices associated to model organism research, and it is in that context that I carry out most of my empirical work.

At Egenis I have currently two main project, each encompassing subprojects:

(1) data-intensive research in the biological and biomedical sciences, which comprises philosophical issues in bioinformatics, the regulatory role of bioinformatics and , and

(2) the with special attention to plant science and the case of .

My work analyses the relations between regulatory, experimental and classificatory practices within contemporary biomedical science, with particular attention to the role played by bioinformatics in data sharing and re-use. From a philosophical perspective, I am interested in the epistemological and ontological assumptions underlying the choice of taxonomies, models and instruments in bioinformatics and experimental biology. I believe that such assumptions play an important role in determining what counts as knowledge and as legitimate research objects within contemporary biology and biomedicine. From a sociological perspective, I compare and analyse the processes through which bioinformatic standards (such as bio-ontologies) are decided upon, institutionalised and used to govern biological and biomedical research. I pay particular attention to the interactions between public funders, government and scientists throughout these processes.