18 Jan 2013
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.
Department of Information Science, Cornell University