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Learning Knowledge

Knowledge & Society: Shifts in knowledge production, organisation and transfer

“Knowledge is always preceded by intuition.”

As Humboldt’s principle outlines, we see knowledge itself – its derivation, organisation and communication – undergoing a fundamental transformation. The trend towards interconnected research, the ongoing expansion of information infrastructures and digital innovation in teaching and learning illustrate these transformations. At the same time, the process of digitalisation requires new ways of communicating information and knowledge,  particularly in higher education.

In the research programme Knowledge & Society we actively monitor these processes. To do so, we combine approaches from science and technology studies, educational science and research on higher education in order to deliver excellent research with a transdisciplinary scope. In addition to our scientific publications, we develop training formats for researchers (e.g., the Impact School) and specific science communication formats (e.g., Elephant in the Lab).

The programme Knowledge & Society ties together research on the changing dynamics in knowledge production, organisation and transfer in three thematic priorities:

Science & Society
How do science and society interact? How is scientific knowledge processed by stakeholders from politics, media, economy and civil society?

Higher Education & Innovation
In which ways do digital innovations impact the tertiary sector and the organisation of higher education?

Open Science & Research Integrity
How do digital infrastructures change science? Do they affect good scientific practice?


DREAM is a BMBF-funded project, conducted in cooperation with the FZI Research Center for Information Technology. Since 2018, the project has focussed on developing a mobile app which will enable researchers to easily find, recommend and share scholarly publications.

The Pelagios project, funded by the A W Mellon Foundation, and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, the Open University, The Austrian Institute of Technology and the University of London, uses linked open data to develop networks of relations between different digital historical sources online, and enables researchers to ask new questions of historical materials.

The BMBF funded project IMPaQT deals with third mission (outreach and engagement) activities in Social Sciences. The research goal is to analyse how scientific knowledge can effectively transfer into society. In cooperation with the DZHW, the project develops and validates indicators and quality criteria for transfer activities in Social Sciences.

ACTiSS is an Erasmus+ funded project in cooperation with the University of Warsaw and University of Groningen that is developing a MOOC for Computational Social Sciences. The research goal is to teach students with a background in Social Sciences how to use computational thinking to analyse processes in politics, economics and society.

OrA is a cooperation project conducted with the FernUniversität Hagen (D²L² Research Cluster). The project investigates teaching and learning innovations in higher education. From an organizational perspective, we explore how higher education institutions implement, adapt, and sustain digital teaching and learning methods.


On the basis of our research, we have developed forums for science transfer as well as training formats. We have established the Elephant in the Lab blog journal as a platform for discussing and debating  new forms of impact. In addition, the Impact School, a teaching concept for doctoral and post-doc researchers has been developed in cooperation with Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0 (Impact School 2017, Impact School 2018). Furthermore, we organize the bimonthly meetup “Impact of Open Science”.

Completed research projects

  • Pelagios
    Science and education · Society and culture

    Pelagios Network: Linking the places of your past

    The project investigates new methodologies for using Linked Data to connect historical sources through common references using a variety of digital content including text,...
  • Science and education · Society and culture

    Opening Science

    It seems as though the digitalisation of research is accompanied by a revision of established research practices and an opening of the research process....


Former employees


Benedikt Fecher (Ed.) (2020). twentyforty – Utopias for a Digital Society. Berlin: Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3677187 Publication details

Blümel C., Fecher B., & Leimüller G. (2019). Was gewinnen wir durch Open Science und Open Innovation? Essen: Edition Stifterverband Verwaltungsgesellschaft für Wissenschaftspflege mbH. Publication details

Fecher, B. (2018). Eine Reputationsökonomie. Der Wert der Daten in der akademischen Forschung. Wiesbaden, Hessen: Springer VS. Publication details

Hebing, M. (2016). A Metadata-Driven Approach to Panel Data Management and Its Application in DDI on Rails: Dissertation. Bamberg: opus. Publication details

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Huisman, J., Vlegels, J., Daenekindt, S., Seeber, M. & Laufer, M. (2021). How satisfied are international students? The role of town, gown and motivations. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2020.1867826 Publication details

Kaiser, J., & Rauchfleisch, A. (2019). Integrating Concepts of Counterpublics into Generalised Public Sphere Frameworks: Contemporary Transformations in Radical Forms. Journal of the European Institute for Communication and Culture. DOI: /10.1080/13183222.2018.1558676 Publication details

Fecher, B. & Kobsda, C. (2019). Meet the Research Impact Canvas. Elephant in the Lab. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3368480 Publication details

Friesike, S., Fecher, B., & Wagner, G.G. (2018). Teach young scientists the importance of societal impact for research. Nature - International journal of science. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-02066-2 Publication details

Mueller-Langer, F., Fecher, B., Harhoff, D., Wagner, G.G. (2018). Replication studies in economics—How many and which papers are chosen for replication, and why? Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2018.07.019 Publication details

Blagoev, B., Felten, S., & Kahn, R. (2018). The Career of a Catalogue: Organizational Memory, Materiality and the Dual Nature of the Past at the British Museum (1970–Today). Sage Journals. DOI: 10.1177/0170840618789189 Publication details

Sokolovska, N. (2018). DREAM – Digital REseArch Mining: pocket library for open content. Open Access in Berlin/Brandenburg 2018. Publication details

Gigerenzer, G., Rebitschek, F.G., Wagner, G.G. (2018). Eine vermessene Gesellschaft braucht Transparenz. Wirtschaftsdienst, 98(12), 860-866. Publication details

Fecher, B., Fräßdorf, M., Hebing, M., & Wagner, G. G. (2017). Replikationen, Reputation und gute wissenschaftliche Praxis. Information - Wissenschaft & Praxis, 68(3). Publication details

Fecher, B., Friesike, S., Hebing, M., & Linek, S. (2017). A reputation economy: how individual reward considerations trump systemic arguments for open access to data. Palgrave Communications, 3. Publication details

Rebitschek, F. G., Gigerenzer, G., & Wagner, G.G. (2017). Kritische Voraussetzungen für ein digitales Gesundheitswesen in Deutschland. Wirtschaftsdienst, 97(10), 699-703. DOI: 10.1007/s10273-017-2200-8 Publication details

Fecher, B., Fräßdorf, M., Hebing, M., & Wagner, G. G. (2017). Replikationen, Reputation und gute wissenschaftliche Praxis. Information - Wissenschaft & Praxis, 68(3). DOI: 10.1515/iwp-2017-0025 Publication details

Blagoyev, B., Felten, S. & Kahn, R. (2017). The Career of a Catalog: Organizational Memory, Materiality and The Dual Nature of the Past at the British Museum (1970 – Today). Organization Studies(Special Issue: Uses of the Past). DOI: 10.1177/0170840618789189 Publication details

Fecher, B. (2016). “Mehr Licht” Offenheit muss sich lohnen. Laborjournal Online. Publication details

Scheliga, K., Friesike, S., Puschmann, C., & Fecher, B. (2016). Setting up crowd science projects. Public Understanding of Science, 1-20. Publication details

Fecher, B. & Wagner, G. (2016). Open Access, Innovation, and Research Infrastructure. Publications, 4(2). Publication details

Fecher, B. & Wagner, G. (2016). A research symbiont. Science, 351(6280), 1405-1406. Publication details

Gibson, L. & Kahn, R. (2016). Digital Museums in the 21st Century: Global Microphones or Universal Mufflers? Museological Review, 20, 39-52. Publication details

Mayweg-Paus, E., Thiebach, M., & Jucks, R. (2016). Let me critically question this! Insights from a training study on the role of questioning in argumentative discourse. International Journal of Educational Research, 79, 195-210. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijer.2016.05.017 Publication details

Mayweg-Paus, E., Macagno, F. & Kuhn, D. (2016). Developing argumentation strategies in electronic dialogs: Is modeling effective? Discourse Processes, 53(4), 280-297. DOI: 10.1080/0163853X.2015.1040323 Publication details

Thiebach, M., Mayweg-Paus, E., & Jucks, R. (2016). Better to agree or disagree? – The role of critical questioning and elaboration in argumentative discourse. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 30(2-3), 133-149. DOI: 10.1024/1010-0652/a000174 Publication details

Fecher, B., Friesike, S., & Hebing, M. (2015). What Drives Academic Data Sharing? PLOS ONE, 10(2). Publication details

Fecher, B. & Puschmann, C. (2015). Über die Grenzen der Offenheit in der Wissenschaft – Anspruch und Wirklichkeit bei der Bereitstellung und Nachnutzung von Forschungsdaten. Information - Wissenschaft & Praxis, 66(2-3), 146–150. Publication details

Hellmann, J.H., Paus, E. & Jucks. R. (2014). How can innovative teaching be taught? Insights from higher education. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 13, 43-51. DOI: 10.2304/plat.2014.13.1.43 Publication details

Deiglmayr, A., Paus, E., McCall, C., Mullins, D., Berthold, K., Wittwer, J., Krämer, N., & Rummel, N. (2013). Towards an integration of the learning perspective and the communication perspective in computer-supported instructional communication. Journal of Media Psychology, 25(4), 180-189. DOI: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000101 Publication details

Book contributions and chapters

Kahn, R. (2019). The Nation is in the Network. In N. Brügger, & D. Laursen (Eds.), The Historical Web and Digital Humanities: The Case of National Web Domains (pp. 161-177). London, New York: Routledge. Publication details

Fecher, B., Sokolovska, N., Friesike, S., Wagner, G. (2019). Governance von Forschungsinfrastruktur am Beispiel von Open Access. In W. Bredemeier (Ed.), Informationswissenschaft. Hat die Informationswissenschaft eine Zukunft? (pp. 430-443). Berlin: Simon Verlag für Bibliothekswissen. Publication details

Friesike, S., & Fecher, B. (2019). Crowd Science: Forschung im digitalen Zeitalter. In Gassmann, O., & Sutter, P. (Eds.), Digitale Transformation im Unternehmen gestalten: Geschäftsmodelle Erfolgsfaktoren Fallstudien Handlungsanweisungen. München: Carl Hanser Verlag. Publication details

Kahn, R., Tanner, S., Gibson, L., & Laycock, G. (2017). Choices in Digitization for the Digital Humanities. In Griffin, G. (Ed.), Research Methods for the Arts and Humanities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Publication details

Benedikt, F., & Friesike, S. (2013). Open Science: One Term, Five Schools of Thought., Opening Science (pp. 17-47) Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-00026-8_2 Publication details

Schmitz, A., Yanenko, O. & Hebing, M. (2012). Identifying Artificial Actors in E-Dating: A Probabilistic Segmentation Based on Interactional Pattern Analysis. (pp. 319-327) Heidelberg: Springer. Publication details

Working paper

Fecher, B., Leimüller G., & Blümel, C. (2018). Das Potenzial strategischer Öffnung. Zukunft des deutschen Wissenschafts- und Innovationssystems. Stifterverband. Publication details

Barkow, I., Block, W., Greenfield, J., Gregory, A., Hebing, M., Hoyle, L., & Zenk-Möltgen, W. (2013). Generic Longitudinal Business Process Model. DDI Working Paper Series Longitudinal Best Practices, 5. DOI: 10.3886/DDILongitudinal05 Publication details

Other publications & Wrzesinski, M. (2021). Das, Fokusgruppe (2021) Das DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4925784. Publication details

Fecher, B., Sokolovska, N., & Hebing, M. (2019). Teaching Impact is Key to Make Science Socially Relevant. Generation R. Publication details

Fecher, B., Wagner, G. W. & Friesike, S. (2019). Bedeutung ist keine Klickzahl. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.07.2019. Publication details

Lüdtke, F. (2019). Mit Humboldt den digitalen Kosmos entdecken. Digital society blog. Publication details

Gigerenzer, G., Müller, K.R. & Wagner, G.G. (2018). Wie man Licht in die Black Box wirft. Publication details

Rebitschek, F. G., Gigerenzer, G. & Wagner, G.G. (2018). Digitalisierung im Gesundheitswesen. Denken hilft der Gesundheit., 12. Publication details

Fricke, C., Meyer, S., Wagner, G.G. (2018). In Grenzen akzeptabel. Publication details

Fecher, B., & Sokolovska, N. (2018). Medien, Politik, Wirtschaft – wer profitiert von eurer Forschung? Publication details

Friesike, S., Fecher, B. & Wagner, G. (2018). It’s time to update our understanding of scientific impact. Elephant in the Lab. Publication details

Hebing, M. & Goebel, J. (2017). The SOEP Metadata Documentation System: Publication details

Hebing, M. & Goebel, J. (2016). The New SOEP Metadata Documentation System: Publication details

Goebel, J. & Hebing, M. (2015). The New SOEP Metadata Portal. Publication details

Kahn, R. (2015). South Africa Might Get the Worst Internet Censorship Law in Africa. Huffington Post. Publication details


Lectures and presentations

Qualität in der digitalen Lehre: Eine Untersuchung von Einflussfaktoren
Tagung der Gesellschaft für Hochschulforschung 2021. Gesellschaft für Hochschulforschung. Online, Siegen, Germany: 16.09.2021 Further information

Moritz Timm, Bronwen Deacon, Melissa Laufer, Len Ole Schäfer

Open Science – an answer to complex problems?
Open Science – an answer to complex problems? (Session: Open Science – an answer to complex problems?). Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). Online, Berlin, Germany: 26.11.2020 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

The road to hell is paved with good algorithms: Filter bubbles on YouTube in the United States and in Germany
The 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference (Session: Algorithms, Blockchain and Data Communication and Technology). International Communications Association (ICA). Hilton Hotel, Washington D.C., U.S.A.: 27.05.2019 Further information

Jonas Kaiser

In the heartland of climate skepticism: A hyperlink network analysis of German climate skeptics and the US right-wing
The 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference (Session: Politics and Partisanship: New Directions in the Politicization of Environmental Issues). International Communications Association (ICA). Hilton Hotel, Washington D.C., U.S.A.: 24.05.2019 Further information

Jonas Kaiser

Impulse für eine bessere Forschung
BMBF-Forum International „The Future of Work“. Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Berlin, Germany: 22.05.2019 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

Algorithmic Discrimination and Algorithmic Radicalization
The Committee of Inquiry on “Algorithmic Discrimination and Algorithmic Radicalization” at the Thuringian State Parliament (Session: Algorithmic Discrimination and Algorithmic Radicalization). Thüringer Landtag, Erfurt, Germany: 20.05.2019

Jonas Kaiser

The pocket library for open content : improving the discoverability of OA research
Scholarly Communication Conference. University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom: 03.05.2019 Further information

Nataliia Sokolovska

From Strings to Things: Using Linked Open Data for Cultural Heritage
Spring School LiSeH 2019 Linked Data and the Semantic Web for Humanities research. University of Graz. University of Graz, Graz, Austria: 24.04.2019 Further information

Rebecca Kahn

The Dark Side of the Moon: Blind spots in the Assessment of Relevance
Technoscientific Constitutionalism. DFG-NSF. ASU Barret and O'Connor Washington Center, Washington D.C., USA: 07.02.2019

Benedikt Fecher

Reddit’s up’s and down’s. Understanding the logic behind successful participative science communication on Reddit
Jahrestagung der DGPuK-Fachgruppe Wissenschaftskommunikation (Session: Fachgruppe Wissenschaftskommunikation). TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany: 07.02.2019

Jonas Kaiser

Knowledge Transfer: Connecting with your audience
AI: Legal & Ethical Implications (Session: Knowledge Transfer: Connecting with your audience). The Center for Cyber Law & Policy. University of Haifa (CCLP), Haifa, Israel: 28.11.2018 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

Praxis der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung: Qualität und Effizienz
Praxis der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung: Qualität und Effizienz. Naturkundemuseum Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 01.11.2018

Nataliia Sokolovska

Open Access und die Governance von Forschungsinfrastruktur
Open Access Week 2018. Thüringer Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Digitale Gesellschaft (TMWWDG). Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar, Germany: 24.10.2018 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

Open access is gaining ground – it's time to talk about the infrastructure
FORCE2018. McGill University, Montréal, Canada: 12.10.2018 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

Out of the Archives, and onto the Streets
Connected Communities Conference. Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom: 27.09.2018

Rebecca Kahn

Offene Wissenschaft in der Soziologie: Was können wir? Wohin wollen wir?
DGS Kongress 2018. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie. Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany: 27.09.2018 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

Wahlkompass Digitales
Wahlsalon Berlin. Open Knowledge Foundation. Open Knowledge Foundation, Berlin, Germany: 01.09.2018

Nataliia Sokolovska

Connecting Collections
ICHG 2018: 17th Annual International Conference of Historical Geographers (Session: Linked Open Data for Linked Pasts). Polish Academy of Sciences. University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland: 17.07.2018

Rebecca Kahn

Pelagios Commons: Decentralizing Knowledge Creation in the Web of Historical Data
ICHG 2018 International Conference of Historical Geographers (Session: Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing in Historical Geography – Projects, Ideas, Perspectives). Polish Academy of Sciences. University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland: 16.07.2018

Rebecca Kahn

Open Access: Eine Frage der Infrastruktur
16. KOBV-Forum 2018: Von Openness, Schranken und Veränderungen. KOBV-Zentrale. Takustraße 7, Berlin, Germany: 27.06.2018

Benedikt Fecher

Berliner Bibliothekswissenschaftliches Kolloquium. Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaften, Berlin, Germany: 24.06.2018

Dr. Benedikt Fecher

Recogito: Semantic Annotation Without the Pointy Brackets
Hybrid Narrativity: Annotating Comics Workshop (Session: Annotating Comics). University of Paderborn, University of Potsdam. Potsdam University, Potsdam, Germany: 18.06.2018

Rebecca Kahn

Pelagios Commons: Linked Data without the Pointy Brackets
Digital Classicist Seminar, Berlin (Session: Digital Classicist Berlin Seminar). Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Interdisziplinäre Forschungsverbund Digital Humanities in Berlin, DARIAH-DE. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 16.10.2017 Further information

Rebecca Kahn

Wahlkompass Digitales
Checkpoint bpb - Die Montagsgespräche. Bpb Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 11.09.2017

Nataliia Sokolovska

Pelagios Commons: Decentralising the Web of Historical Knowledge
Digital Cultural Heritage. CODATA-Germany. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 30.08.2017

Rebecca Kahn


Inklusive Wissenschaft: zum Für und Wider von Open Science und Citizen Science
Universitätsdiskurs Austria 2018: Wissenschaft | Kunst | Gesellschaft im Gespräch. Österreichische Universitätenkonferenz (uniko). TU Wien, Vienna, Austria: 11.09.2018 Further information

Benedikt Fecher

Berufsbildung 2018: Wo bleibt die e-Didaktik?
Bildungsmesse „didacta“. Bildungsmesse "didacta". Messegelände Hannover, Hannover, Germany: 22.02.2018

Thomas Schildhauer

Moderation of workshops and panels

Utopian science fiction writing: build your own future AI world
Annual Conference: KI-Camp 2021. Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI). Online, Berlin, Germany: 16.03.2021 Further information

Bronwen Deacon, Isabella Hermann

Swimming in (Linked) Data: Using the Semantic Web to make sense of Spatial Humanities
Annual Conference. DARIAH. University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland: 15.05.2019 Further information

Rebecca Kahn

Organisation of events

The Rapid Digital Turn: An Exploration into the Tight and Loose Coupling of University Structures
Understanding Digital Transformations of Higher Education Teaching and Learning in the Nordics and Beyond. From 30.03.2021 to 31.07.2021. Online, Online, Online. Co-Organised by: Universities of Agder (Norway) Aarhus (Denmark) and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) (International) Further information

Melissa Laufer, Bronwen Deacon

Open Research Library Launch Event
10.03.2020. Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany (National) Further information

Nataliia Sokolovska

Geo-LOD: Linked Open Data and GeoHumanities Research (Linked Data, Geodata and Humanities Research: More Than Semantics)
Geo-LOD: Linked Open Data and GeoHumanities Research. with attending Vip: Geo-LOD: Linked Open Data and GeoHumanities Research. 22.05.2018. Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom (International)

Rebecca Kahn


Co-Coordinator: DARIAH EU GeoHumanities Working Group.

Rebecca Kahn