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Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
  ASIST2006: Research Collaboration
Research Collaboration
Tuesday 1:45

Patterns of research collaboration in a large digital library
Nisa Bakkalbasi

Nisa and her co author extracted co-authorship data with a co-authored paper creating an edge and authors as the nodes. They calculated various measures of centrality and productivity. They then did statistical analyses on the network and productivity measures.

The Special Case of Scientific Data Sharing with Education
Jillian Wallis
Although specifically about making the embedded network sensor data available for 8-12th grade students, this presentation had some interesting comments on data sharing, in general.

Christine Borgman responded to a question from the audience. Collaborators on the project are from the department of education – one of the problems is that students generally do work with known datasets, that have been cleaned up, and have well-known answers. In reality, science is messy and data is messy. This research deals in part with how, pedagogically, students can interact and learn from more realistic situations.

Information Communication in Collaboratories
Airong Luo
Michigan

Collaboratories are wide-spread, but their impact on scientific work is still unclear.

Informal communication
- “communication occurring before formal publication in journal, books, and formal presentations”
- helps scientists identify suitable topics, receive more timely feedback, share research methodologies, clarify relevance of terms and obtain social and emotional support

RQs
In what ways do collaboratories support
What are the social and tech barriers
Do collaboratories offer more opportunities for peripheral scientists to participate

Framework to understand informal communication
Communication zone (social bonds > concentration of suitable partners, mechanisms to bring people together, attention > physical proximity, group identity, invisible colleges) & information exchange (common ground)

Qual, 23 interviews in the scientists lab, participant observation in meetings, analysis of public documents

Found participants through Science of Collaboratories database,
Convenience sample, with snowball sample.

Biomed, molecular bio, high energy physics collaboratories

Findings
- virtually concentrate suitable partners – get to know people from whom they can seek help
- provide forums for scientists to interact both online and in person
- enhance group identity

Yes, collaboratories help connect peripheral scientists
- help keep peripheral scientists informed
- connect to other people
- in formal communication, you only learn what was successful – in a collaboratory you learn about what experiments and methods were tried and were unsuccessful

Social – Technical barriers
- infrequent collegial communication – IM, forums, not frequently used
- out of sight out of mind for peripheral scientists – face to face meetings like during lunch and breaks are still very important for trust and establishing communications
- missing information – due to communication infrastructure problems and time zone problems they miss important conferences and information – they can get the slides later online but it’s not enough because they miss the questions and richness as well as hallway conversations
- participation by peripheral scientists is limited – also had to be introduced to collaboratory by non-peripheral scientist

Implications
- motivate participants to record their research activities and research methods
- motivate participants to use technologies to communicate (forums, etc)
- apply technologies to capture information communication in meetings and conferences (she suggests blogs but also real time backchannel im comms, perhaps)
- funding for peripheral scientists to travel
- low bandwidth technologies

Question from the audience
- could social practices, perhaps instead of or with current/new technologies, to encourage informal communication
- motivation and how to motivate scientists
- did the existence of informal communication impact team formation and new work?
- Is there any reciprocity? Is it only peripheral scientists learning from American big science or does it go both ways? (resource dependency relationship, in some samples and data were from peripheral country labs) Some peripheral members were introduced by their academic advisors in western countries.

(aside: this is incredibly interesting to me as I did an extensive literature review on informal scholarly communication in the Spring and found some similar things)

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Comments:
Was any of this work public or was it all password protected for use within the collaboration?
 
I guess I'm not sure about your question and which data. I'll e-mail you.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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