Our culture is dominated by digital documents in ways that are easy to overlook. These documents have changed our worldviews about science and have raised our expectations of them as tools for knowledge justification. This article explores the complexities surrounding the digital document by revisiting Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge—the idea that “we can know more than we can tell.” The theory presents to us a dilemma: if we can know more than we can tell, then this means that the communication of science via the document as a primary form of telling will always be incomplete. This dilemma presents significant challenges to the open science movement.

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Published in Information & Culture, v. 56, issue 1.

This is a pre-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in Information & Culture 56, issue 1, (2021) following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available from University of Texas Press.

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

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Burns, C. S. (2021). The tacit knowledge dilemma in open science. UKnowledge Information Science Presentation. https://uknowledge.uky.edu/slis_present/2/