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Theme 6: Sharing, Collaboration and Interfaces for e-Research

Chair: Rob Procter (University of Manchester)
Co-Chairs: Alex Voss (University of St. Andrews), Marina Jirotka (Oxford e-Science Centre), Bruce Beckles (University of Cambridge) and Jeremy Frey (University of Southampton)

The e-Research vision challenges scientific research communities to re-think their practices, not only with respect to research methods, but also in terms of what membership of a scientific research community entails.

From the beginning of the UK e-Science programme, greater collaboration was seen as a necessary response to the increasing complexity and scale of research challenges. Over time, however, this emphasis on ‘Big Science’ and on more traditional forms of collaboration has been increasingly complemented by the emergence of new forms. These include collaborations of a more ad-hoc nature pursued through publication of an expanding range of digital research artefacts (data, methods, etc.), rather than through more traditional modes of scholarly communications. New modes of scholarly communication find their most cogent expression in the notion of ‘Open Science’, which advocates that researchers should expose their ideas, practices and results to peer – and public – scrutiny as a matter of daily routine.

Between Big Science and Open Science lies a wide spectrum of possibilities for enhanced collaboration and sharing, some of which are now beginning to make an impact. This theme seeks to explore these and to understand how the adoption of new practices is shaped by different factors, including technical, social and cultural. A better understanding of the mutual shaping of technical advances and social arrangements will aid the development of the ‘interfaces’ – at the technical, human-machine, organisational and wider social level – that are needed to enable e-Research collaborations.

Contributions from members of the e-Research community, sociologists of science, technology and innovation, library and information scientists and professionals working in scientific publishing are especially welcome.

Topics of interest include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Case studies of new forms of sharing and collaboration, including ‘Open Science’ and ‘Science 2.0’
  • Understanding the impact of disciplinary practices upon emerging modes of research collaboration
  • Role of social networks in facilitating research collaboration and sharing
  • New tools and services for curation, discovery and sharing
  • Impact of disciplinary and organisational factors
  • Implications of new modes for scholarly communications for the future of peer review
  • Ethical and legal issues raised by new modes of scholarly communications