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CCNY researchers study scientific collaboration in age of internet
Date:10/15/2009

three stages. In the first stage, Professors Binz-Scharf and Paik will conducted an ethnographic study of Dean Caplan's lab and those of three scientists he collaborates with. They will observe the scientists at work and ask questions about their work. They will attend "virtual" meetings with collaborators, go through a typical work day with different scientists in the laboratory, and observe scientists work together in the laboratory (as well as across different laboratories).

The findings of this stage will be used to develop a questionnaire for use in a social network analysis of all 300 or so scientists in the field. In the final stage, a select group of the scientists will be interviewed in depth to determine whether their statements corroborate the data collected through the survey and the ethnographic observations.

"We not only want to see how scientists work, but question assumptions about how new technology improves the ways scientists collaborate," said Professor Paik. "We want to see how the way science works is changing because of new technology."

While technology can facilitate collaboration on a global scale, it remains to be seen whether it can overcome the human barriers, Professor Binz-Scharf noted. "In the end, it's all about people having to come together and negotiate a social contract."

The researchers hope to produce guidelines that can be applied to promote and maintain productive collaborations, she added. "We are looking at a specific field with specific norms, but we expect that many of the principles can be applied to virtual collaborations in other areas, including the social sciences."


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Contact: Ellis Simon
esimon@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-6460
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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