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Information Challenges in Collaborative Science

Moderator: Christine Borgman, University of California, Los Angeles
Speakers: David Ribes, Georgetown University
Steven Jackson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Jillian C. Wallis, University of California, Los Angeles
Geoffrey C. Bowker, University of Pittsburgh
Archer Batcheller, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

(Submission #247)


Knowledge production and knowledge management in the sciences are being transformed through initiatives such as Cyberinfrastructure in the U.S. and eScience or eResearch in the U.K., Europe, and elsewhere. Science - and other forms of scholarship - are becoming more collaborative, distributed, information-intensive, and data-intensive. Research about the information practices of these endeavors is an emerging area in information science and technology. Large-scale collaborative science projects are very difficult topic to study, however, due to their distributed, emergent, and partial character. Any single perspective — whether information-seeking, information-behavior, data-handling, knowledge organization, digital libraries, or archival records — risks examining only one part of the elephant. New kinds of research methods and new kinds of collaborations are needed to explore cyberinfrastructure and eResearch. Challenges include theoretical and methodological assumptions of ethnographic and place-based wholeness. This panel explores methodological and analytic responses to the challenge of writing “thick descriptions of thin phenomena” for cyberinfrastructure and other distributed scientific enterprises. We explore tools, methods, and strategies we have used in our research, and ongoing problems with which we and others continue to struggle. Effective solutions to these challenges will be central to information science's ongoing engagement with the development, deployment, and management of advanced information infrastructure in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. They may also provide new clues and strategies for practicing science studies at scale.


Program Track:  Track 4 - Information and Knowledge Management
Submission Type:  Panel Proposal

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