Developing eResearch: Challenges and Possibilities for the Social
Developing eResearch: Challenges and Possibilities for the Social Sciences David Thorns School of Sociology and Anthropology University of Canterbury APANZ Conference Queenstown August 4-8th 2008 E research a new paradigm? e science is a dream about the futurecollaborative environment of exchange to enhance our ability to create new forms of knowledge Requires new infrastructure to combine people and technologies Challenges traditional practices dream and reality of experience Creating the National Social Science Network (BRCSS) 2004-9
Objectives Create new research teams and connections and forms of collaboration Add value to the Research Platform Strengthen collaboration Build Maori, Pasifica and New Settler research networks Create new research linkages break down silos Encourage interdisciplinary and trans disciplinary social science Strengthen post graduate connectivity In the beginningcollaborating loosely Family Centre for Social Policy Network of Funded Research Programmes BRCSS Post Docs Other Funders National Networking - From Vision to
Outcomes creating connectivity Problem Limited funds for connecting widely geographically distributed population Solution Deploy Grid and other innovative Computer Mediated Communication systemsACCESS GRID and AVCs Outcome creation of new networks Technological network communication infrastructue Socio technological network participants communicating via technology Networking Links: the techies version Networking Links: big pipes 10Gb 10Gb
10Gb Vector North Shore Vector North Shore CityLink Auckland Hort Research Mount Albert 10Gb 10Gb Forest Research Rotorua Innovation Waikato 10Gb 10Gb
Inspire.Net Palmerston North 10Gb TCL POP Napier 10Gb Hawkes Bay Research Centre Havelock North 10Gb Massey University Palmerston North 10Gb CityLink Wellington CityLink Wellington
GNS Lower Hutt 10Gb 10Gb 10Gb 10Gb TCL POP Nelson 10Gb 10Gb Canterbury University Lincoln University = Nortel DWDM Connection = Fibre Connection
10Gb 10Gb = Fibre Patch Lead REANNZ Physical Network Diagram Version 1_1 30th December 2005 10Gb Otago University AgResearch Invermay Networking links: pipes and ports http://www.karen.net.nz/home/ Networking links: working research $ $
$ $ $ $ $ Family Centre Month De c07 No v07 Au g07 Se p07
O ct -0 7 Ju l-0 7 Ap r- 0 7 M ay -0 7 Ju n07 Fe b07 M ar -0
7 Ja n07 Number of Sessions Number of Access Grid Seminars 2007 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5
0 Number of Access Grid Bookings for the period January - June 2008 60 Number of Bookings 50 40 30 20 10 0 January February March
April May June Month Access Grid Bookings: Session Purpose January - June 2008 Meeting AG Testing 16% 36% Seminar 13% Presentation 1%
Course / Teaching 21% 13% Not Defined Advantages of AGs Allow participants to simultaneously share resources such as presentations, video clips, slide shows, shared whiteboard Allow group to group meetings/discussions Through multicasting allow many to many communication number of sites can be considerable constrained by physical room location and ability to cope with multiple streams Reflecting and Researching on the use of the Access Grid
Researching to understand how the new medium works. Does it create new ways of collaborating? Is it the same as or different from face to face forms of communication What forms of collaboration does it encourage/ enable? Research Methodology Grounded approach Observations leading to development of themes Web survey of participants in sessions Recording sessions and annotating testing middleware Memetic and DRS What was learnt Collaboration
Defined as meeting with other researchers and colleagues in order to exchange ideas and information AG seen to benefit collaborative projects with researchers who were spatially dispersed A very good way to meet, discuss, work with colleagues across the nation. you pop into a local room and connect up to people many miles away. An opportunity to participate and see what other research is happening in New Zealand. An opportunity to see and communicate with fellow colleagues in other Universities. The potential for simultaneous connection and collaboration across geographical space and time zones is immense. In a country as geographically remote as ours the Access Grid promises to be a conduit for being able to attend and present papers at conferences virtually What we learnt Simulation/Non Simulation of Face to Face Interaction
Support for the statement that it is possible to participate in an AG session as you would in a face to face importance of ability to see participants body language and reactions facial cues Better than in a meeting because you feel as if the person is talking directly to you ... so better visuals and it 'feels' more personal The face-to face environment is highly significant, permitting multiple readings of presentations and self. It is much more effective than written or email communications, or telephone, or even video conferencing that is normally limited in participants. It does require some adaptation to multiple sites and participants, but is very worthwhile. We feel free to look bored, whereas [in] f2f we would feel obliged to pay more attention The interaction between physically distant researchers, free
ranging ideas of participants, self-monitoring, local ideas and academics discussing local needs in international contexts, finding out unexpected new knowledge from disciplinary experts, the informality of exchange What we learnt-Protocols Issues that arose here were facilitation and chairing of sessions Co-ordinating multiple sites and large groups of people Issue of whether nodes should see themselves who and how do they feel part of the group Requiring a different interactive style formal rather than spontaneous All sessions need an active facilitator [sic] who tells people at the beginning [sic] how to participate in that environment- hand up for signal to talk, wait till you are asked to speak to avoid speaking over the top, pause and make time for others who have not
spoken. Socio Technical Spaces Talking to a wall rather than people large number of screens for some confusing Dependency on technicians positive and negative features Too dependent on expertise of technical person present. They can spend their time re-arranging the pictures from each site all over the screen, while the participants have to try and make out what site in particular has gone where now! Degree of comfort with the technology influenced view of AG as medium of communication
When the technology is working well you forget that you are not in the immediate presence of others What other technologies that had tried/were familiar with important Once youre used to the set up asking a question is no more or less difficult than in a face-to-face meeting providing the technology is working on the day. E Social Science Development
Part of broader E research agenda focused on building the infrastructure for the next generation of scientific advance US Cyber infrastructure development NSG priority ESFRI European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures UK ESRC E Science 2000 and E Social Science 2004 UK NCESS established 2004 funding review and extended now to 2014 Based on model of funding a Centre/Core activity and then creating a series of linked projects NZ KAREN and the possibilities created Road map for future development includes Social Science BRCSS key component as is NZSSDS Access to more data, greater opportunities to share data and forms of collaboration across distance Emerging Agenda of E Social Science High performance Networking computing
VREs Coordination and collaboration Data Management Access and security BRCSS and E Social Science BRCSS AG and AVC Coordination and communication infrastructure BestGrid NZSSDS and NZSSN
BRCSS Networks Extending collaboration Building a sustainable infrastructure for Global and National development BRCSS VREs Sustainable Infrastructure for Social Science Remote collaborative technologies offer a way of creating a sustainable research practice linking across national and international boundaries. Developing further these technologies and providing the necessary infrastructure critical to
maintaining the momentum that has now been created Web sites http://avcc.karen.net.nz/wiki/About_AVCC http://www.brcss.net/ http://www.ssrc.canterbury.ac.nz/about/e_social_science.shtml
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