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Science of Collaboratories
Notes on Organizational, Cultural and Professional Issues in Collaboratories


Prepared by Tom Finholt, Julie Ballin, Jeremy Birnholz
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Expanded Access to Science

  • International Participation
    • Lesser-developed countries
    • Under-resourced American Institutions
      • Unmet need for D1 and D2 faculty to participate in research
        • Beneficial consequences for them and students
      • Make more Oberlin-type experiences/undergrad exposure to research
    • Outreach to K12 and science museums
      • Lack of sustainable funding
      • Policies for access and intellectual property control

Structural Transformation

  • Breakdown of disciplinary boundaries
    • Why are we so interested in multidisciplinarity?
    • Multiple authorship is increasing, but not necessarily more heterogeneous --       No correlation between increased email use in collaboration and heterogeneity
  • Impact on research university structure
    • Career transforming power
      • Progress to ph D
      • Better career prospects (visbility to networks)
      • Students brokering collaborations amongst faculty
    • Evaluative criteria for scientists
      • Difference between value of contributions and what they are doing
        • Eg technical contributions vs. publications
    • New ways for people later in their careers?
      • Distraction or opportunities?
        • Rejuvenation and redirection of careers
    • Funding models
      • Perception by NSF that research and infrastructure are separate entities
      • Mentoring and student relationships across institutional lines
    • Willingness to collaborate is higher earlier in the career and later?

Transformational Potential

  • Data reuse producing new kinds of science
  • Synthesis of data streams
  • Are we still seeing 1st order effects? Does the technology need to mature before we see more?
  • New fields are more flexible with respect to method and practice

Collaboratory Taxonomy

  • Integrated collaboratories vs. bricolage
  • Kinds of collaboratories
  • Who calls themselves collaboratories and why

Search for collaboratory analogies

  • Previous intervention with similar characteristics for forecast of collaboratories
  • Epublishing? Proportion of citations to US authors in major journals is declining
    • US getting weaker? US same others stronger? US scientists doing something else (Citing unpublished papers?)
  • Email: we know when the tipping point was (late 80s/early 90s) some change in collaborations, but Walsh shows we don't see a change in scientific productivity or heterogeneous collaborations
  • Collaboration is generally increasing in time, must demonstrate impact of collaboratories by showing faster than usual growth
  • Sensitivity analysis
    • Lots of data would be required to begin to show any sort of consequence
    • Dead end for attempts to correlate

Ecological Study of Collaboratories

  • Understanding use of these things in context
  • Exploring nonparticipation
  • Collaboratory use is "log in and bail out"
    • Small % constitute a large part of use, lots not coming back
    • Talk to people who never come back

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