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Big Biology. Supersizing science during the emergence of the 21st century

Vermeulen, N

NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin   24 (2) 195–223

DOI: 10.1007/s00048-016-0141-8

June 2016   (First published online May 2016)

Proponents of big biology presented the Human Genome Project as the new and more effective way to perform research, while opponents claimed it undermined the very character of biological research, bureaucratizing and politicizing it while diluting creativity
Moreover, the term big biology was mainly used as a rhetorical weapon in the debate between scientists and policymakers in favor of the Human Genome Project and those opposing large-scale projects in biology.
While the big science concept has a long history and acquired rich and multi-faceted meanings over time, debates about big biology focused on overly simple framings and uncritical conceptualizations. Moreover, big science was pictured as either good or bad, prematurely silencing the development of more nuanced understandings of the positive and negative sides of ongoing transformations in the biosciences.