This talk examines the challenges, tensions, and opportunities that confront efforts to develop new computational infrastructure in existing (read: historically and socially embedded) fields of science. Reporting on several years of comparative ethnographic fieldwork around computational development, collaboration, and large-scale research networks in the US ecology and earth science communities (including the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, the Ocean Observing Initiative (OOI), and the now-defunct WATERS Network) it examines the relationship between new forms of infrastructure and existing forms of practice, collaboration and value in the sciences. Theoretically, it advances a model of distributed governance that better accounts for the social and material embedding of scientific research, even in new computationally and network-intensive forms. It concludes with a series of policy recommendations intended to change how we think about, fund, and practice scientific collaboration in an increasingly networked world.
About the speakers
Steven Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Information Science at Cornell University, and a member of the Science and Technology Studies, Communication, and Public Affairs graduate fields. He works in the areas of science and technology policy, scientific collaboration, social computing, and emergent knowledge infrastructures, with current empirical projects around computational development in the ecology, oceanographic, and earth science communities. His work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, World Bank, Social Science Research Council, Intel Research, and the National Science Foundation, including the current NSF CAREER award, “Governing Collaborative Science: Cyberinfrastructure, Scale, and Governance in the Networked Ecological Sciences.”