O'Really?

June 15, 2009

Andrea Wiggins on little e-Science

Andrea WigginsAndrea Wiggins [1,2] from Syracuse University, New York is visiting Manchester this week and will be doing a seminar on “Little e-Science“, the details of which are below.

Date, time: 12 – 2pm on Thursday 18th June

Location: Atlas 1&2, Kilburn building

Title: Little eScience

Abstract: An interdisciplinary community of researchers has started to coalesce around the study of free/libre open source software (FLOSS) development. The research community is in many ways a reflection of the phenomenon of FLOSS practices in both social and technological respects, as many share the open source community’s values that support transparency and democratic participation. As community ties develop, new collaborations have spurred the creation of shared research resources: several repositories provide access to curated research-ready data, working paper repositories provide a means for disseminating early results, and a variety of analysis scripts and workflows connecting the data sets and literature are freely available. Despite these apparently favorable conditions for research collaboration, adoption of the tools and practices associated with eResearch has been slow as yet.

The key issues observed to date seem to stem from the challenges of pre-paradigmatic little science research. Researchers from software engineering, information systems, and even anthropology may examine the same construct, such as FLOSS project success, but will likely proceed from different epistemologies, utilize different data sources, identify different independent variables with varying operationalizations, and employ different research methodologies. In the decentralized and phenomenologically-driven FLOSS research community, creating and maintaining cyberinfrastructure [3] is a substantial effort for a small number of participants. In the little sciences, achieving critical mass of participation may be the most significant factor in creating a viable community of practice around eScience methods.

Update Slides are embedded below:

References

  1. Andrea Wiggins (2009) Social Life of Information: We Are Who We Link Andrea’s blog
  2. Andrea Wiggins, James Howison, & Kevin Crowston (2008). Social dynamics of FLOSS team communication across channels Open Source Development, Communities and Quality
  3. Lincoln Stein (2008). Towards a cyberinfrastructure for the biological sciences: progress, visions and challenges Nature Reviews Genetics, 9 (9), 678-688 DOI: 10.1038/nrg2414

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