Sunday, March 23, 2014

“Science friction: Data, metadata, and collaboration”

This article, written by Paul N. Edwards, Matthew S. Mayernik, Archer L. Batcheller, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Christine L. Borgman, was published in “Social Studies of Science” in 2011, well into the post-web, post-google times.

About the authors of this article, the information includes:
Paul N. Edwards is Professor of Information and History at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Two of his books, A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010), was named a ‘2010 Book of the Year’ by The Economist. His research centers on the history, politics, and culture of information infrastructures.
Matthew S. Mayernik completed his PhD in Information Studies at UCLA in 2011. His dissertation, Metadata Realities for Cyberinfrastructure: Data Authors as Metadata Creators, examined everyday metadata practices of small-scale field-based research teams in seismology, ecology, aquatic biology, and environmental science.
Archer L. Batcheller received his PhD from the University of Michigan School of Information in 2011, with a dissertation entitled Requirements Engineering in Building Climate Science Software.
Geoffrey C. Bowker is Professor and Senior Researcher in Cyberscholarship at the iSchool, University of Pittsburgh. One of his famous book is called Memory Practices in the Sciences (MIT Press, 2006). He studies emergent teams in cyberinfrastructure and emergent forms of knowledge expression in the sciences and humanities.
Christine L. Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA. Borgman’s research on data practices spans the domains of earth and space sciences, life sciences, computer science, engineering, and the humanities.

“Social Studies of Science”, where the article is published, is a scholarly peer reviewed journal that targets on professionals and scientists of social science as its intended audience group.
Unfortunately, I could not find any responses including reviews, discussions or articles in any form about this article.

Main Topic:
The article “Science friction: Data, metadata, and collaboration” uses the term “friction” as a metaphor to describe the relationship between data collaboration and interdisciplinary science study under the context of data-driven environment. The article mainly focuses on the metadata of the interdisciplinary study and attempts to figure out what exact type and content do scientists truly need from other researchers’ previous datasets through interviews with several science researchers. Furthermore, the article discusses about whether interdisciplinary research need metadata as a product or a process.

The article claims that although metadata has served a foremost role in the collaboration of interdisciplinary study, it may impede data sharing as a source of friction due to the reality that the datasets of different researches may be incomplete during the process of exchange and collaboration and need repair to avoid misunderstandings.  Hence, the article argues that under some contexts, researchers may consider more about pragmatism as regarding the metadata as a fugitive process of ad hoc, incomplete, flabbily constructed and changeful while metadata products can’t be supplemented with long-term processes.

The article considers the possible “friction”, which refers to the all kinds of consume that metadata products could cost during the metadata processes and enlightens readers with a fresh thinking of pragmatism. For some ephemeral interdisciplinary studies, the way of utilizing metadata-as-process could be obviously both time-saving and money-saving with a higher data communication efficiency rather than pursuing an enduring metadata product. 

Edwards, P. N., Mayernik, M. S., Batcheller, A. L., Bowker, G. C., & Borgman, C. L. (2011). Science friction: Data, metadata, and collaboration. Social Studies of Science, 41(5), pp. 667-690.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.