Over at Realclimate, Rasmus E. Benestad is unhappy with philosophers/sociologists of science:
"One real difference between the ‘tribes’ of natural scientists and STS scholars may be the perception of ‘facts’: Ryghaug and Skjølsvold conclude that “scientific facts are made and not just discovered”. In contrast, I think most natural scientists feel that facts are facts, whether we know about them or not."
Well, if natural scientists really think this, then they are wrong, though I'm not sure they do really think it.
For example, lets take a global average annual temperature for year X. This figure seems to me to be massively "constructed", or "made". Nobody consults s single thermometer that gives you this figure. Instead, a thousand point measurements are adjusted, massaged, and otherwised fiddled with so that the one figure can be produced. Yet I would say it is nevertheless a fact.
That's all that the claim that facts are in some sense "made" need necessarily imply. There are sociologists who write as though there is something more sinister at play--that our broader political ideology drives the way we "make" our facts. Stephen Fuller comes to mind. But it needn't be taken to imply that; the word is meant to suggest the notion of LABOUR as much as INVENTION.
This might be of some importance, given the misunderstandings of a few science journalists like Fred Pearce, who thought that the fact that nobody ever asked Phil Jones for his "raw data" signified a breakdown in peer review. But why would anybody want to re-do the work Jones already put into his data set? Such a course of action would only be useful if Jones had been incompetent or a member of some kind of worldwide Marxist conspiracy. Which of course he wasn't, so why bother?