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Höltgen, Benedikt T. A. (2021): Structure-sensitive testimonial norms. In: European Journal for Philosophy of Science, Vol. 11, No. 3, 80

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Although there has been a lot of investigation into the influence of the network structure of scientific communities on the one hand and into testimonial norms (TNs) on the other, a discussion of TNs that take the network structure into account has been lacking. In this paper, I introduce two TNs which are sensitive to the local network structure. According to these norms, scientists should give less weight to the results of well-connected colleagues, as compared to less connected ones. I employ an Agent Based Model to test the reliability of the two novel TNs against different versions of conventional, structure-insensitive TNs in networks of varying size and structure. The results of the simulations show that the novel TNs are more reliable. This suggests that it would be beneficial for scientific communities if their members followed such norms. For individual scientists, I show that there are both reasons for and reasons against adopting them.

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