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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

This poster aims at exploring how academic libraries can help shape the development of e-Science and facilitate scholarship. It first discusses the problems that the e-Science community is facing. This poster then argues that the issues emerged in the e-Science practice will drive the need for a new contribution-recognition system that reflects the accumulative, social and collaborative characteristics of science, and recognizes the values of various types of expertise to e-Science and human knowledge. Finally, it proposes directions of how academic libraries can actively ground themselves in everyday research practice and shape the e-Science revolution by providing new research data and information services based on the new contribution-recognition system that encourages, documents, traces, and recognizes the contribution of different types of participation.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

Academic libraries, as an integral part of their institutions, aim at supporting their organizational missions and serving their communities (Rubin, 2004). To meet their goals and objectives, academic libraries have developed and provided a variety of information and resource services (Gold, 2007, Hey and Trefethen, 2003). However, it has been argued that current academic libraries' support and engagement in research is not sufficient. They put much focus on providing information resources when a research agenda is initiated and collecting and depositing publications when final research outcomes are publicly reported or presented (D2C2, 2008; Gold, 2007). Their involvement during the middle stage of research projects still needs improvement. Therefore, academic libraries will need to fully join in the whole research process to offer various types of data and information services needed by their users.

e-Science, which is encompassed by the broader term e-Research, can be viewed as a specific way to pursue scientific inquiry. It is characterized by the use of large-scale, distributed data, shared computing facilities, broader-level of collaboration across geographic boundary, and the support of cyberinfrastructure (Howison, et al, 2008). E-Science practices have emerged in many disciplines, including bioinformatics, energy science, earth science, social science, arts, and humanity (Crane, et al, 2007).

e-Science, as a specific type of research styles, should also be supported by academic libraries. However, only few research and academic libraries in the U.S. have started to facilitate the e-Science practices taken place in their institutions. The need for understanding e-Science as an integral part of scholarship and how academic libraries can support it calls for attention because they are not well-studied yet. Therefore, the author would like to address this urgent issue by first investigating the problems that the e-Science community is facing. She will then explain why these issues might drive the need for a new contribution-recognition system and its characteristics. She will then analyze the gap between the current information services offered by academic libraries that are separated from researchers' practice. The author will further discuss the directions of how academic libraries might contribute to the shape of the new contribution-recognition system to facilitate the advancement of e-Science and ultimately the scholarship as a whole. This poster will finally provide possible directions for future research.

Current State of e-Science

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

The e-Science community has encountered many problems. It is important to understand current problems emerged in the e-Science community because they have profound impacts on e-Science researchers/data generators and collectors, research practices, scholarly communication, and ultimately the scholarship as a whole. Therefore, this section will briefly review the issues that have been raised to understand their underlying implications.

The rapidly increasing amount of data generated by technologies and instruments has been reexamined to maximize their values and application possibilities in different situations and contexts (Carlson and Anderson, 2007; Lankes, et al, 2008; Hey and Hey, 2003). The importance of data, particularly raw data, has been highlighted because of their potential for secondary data analysis and their historical values (Gold, 2007; Lord and Macdonald, 2003). The documentation of data provenance – contextual and situational factors that drive and affect data generation and collection practice, has hence been seriously discussed since it plays a key role in reusing and repurposing (Hey and Hey, 2003; Arzberger, et al, 2004). Currently, data curation activities are usually supported by funding agencies of research projects and programs (Lord and Macdonald, 2003). Various levels of governmental, social, structural and economical support are critical to the development of e-Science and the longevity of research data (Lord and Macdonald, 2003; Gold, 2007; Arzberger, et al, 2004). The collaboration between different types of organizations and stakeholders, including public sectors and research institutions, curators and researchers, and a matrix of capabilities are required to manage, preserve, and access to research data and to facilitate e-Science (Mullins, 2007; Luce, 2008).

Archiving, preserving, and providing access to data and other research outputs produced throughout research process is difficult because of the heterogeneous nature of research data (Gold, 2007; Arzberger, et al, 2004). Research data are collected/generated, processed, analyzed, and presented in different forms and formats by different applications and software packages. Additionally, scientific data need to be described, annotated, and organized to be accessed and used (Lord and Macdonald, 2003). Further, because current digital preservation is not positioned in modern technologies that enable rapid and easy retrieval (Doorn and Tjalsma, 2007), discovery and data mining tools need to be developed and improved to enhance the access of research data (Hey and Trefethen, 2003). Moreover, research data are usually stored and preserved in distributed repositories or databases hosted by different institutions and organizations. They will need to be aggregated and organized seamlessly to allow users to access them together in an appropriate manner (Livingston and Nastasie, 2007). Different activities will be required for long-term curation, management, stewardship and preservation of different types of research data and relevant outputs generated in different e-Science projects in various fields (Gold, 2007). The problems of how to connect, present, and visualize distributed data and their derivative works in a holistic way hence bring challenges to providing research data and information services (Gold, 2007; Mullins, 2007).

Some of the e-Science projects may need to obtain and use multiple datasets generated and preserved in different countries in the world. Their use hence is subject to the influence of the variance of cultures, customs, and legal systems. The possibilities of repurposing research data also affect their access and use (Gold, 2007). Funding agencies of e-Science projects play an important role in deciding the availability, accessibility, and the usage of data (Doorn and Tjalsma, 2007). Privacy issues related to certain types of data, especially when they are derived from humans, such as children, pregnant women, minority group, are of special concerns (Carlson and Anderson, 2007). Additionally, the competitions between researchers, institutions, nations, fields/disciplines, and the core values of transparency and openness of the scientific conduct have driven the debate on intellectual property rights and on other legal and ethical concerns (Burk, 2007; Carlson and Anderson, 2007). Researchers' reluctance to share data has been a serious problem (Lord and Macdonald, 2003; Arzberger, et al, 2004). Incentives are needed to encourage and promote data sharing and exchange (Borgman, et al, 2006; Arzberger, et al, 2004). The tension between proprietary outputs and open access of research outcomes has hence also emerged in the e-Science community (Burk, 2007). The applicability of creative commons models, and open source licensing and patenting models on e-Science practices, has hence been introduced, applied, and experimented (Burk, 2007).

Overall, the e-Science community has met issues related to data curation and preservation, the development and management of computing technology, social and institutional support, cultural, ethical and legal concerns. It will need better research data and information services to help overcome these barriers to its advancement.

What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

According to the aforementioned problems raised in the e-Science community, the contextual information of research data – what data are collected/generated, processed and presented, how, why and when they are collected/generated and analyzed, and who are involved, have profound impacts on their access, repurpose and use possibilities. The collaboration across geographic boundary and the use of data distributed in different parts of the world also affect the development of both e-Science and further human knowledge. These problems indicate that the fundamental nature of scholarship – how science is pursued and fulfilled, and how knowledge is accumulated, is not well-presented, exhibited and recognized in the e-Science community and in the academia. Therefore, there will be a need for a new contribution-recognition system.

The current contribution-recognition system – primarily the citation-based system highlights the importance of originality. It focuses on the development of ideas and contributions made by major researchers, as frequently manifested by the order of authors. Other contributors who facilitate research projects or programs, including data generator/collector, data manager/scientists who provide technological suggestions on analyzing and processing data, have been neglected (Arzberger, et al, 2004) because they are not recorded, documented, traced, and presented in the current system. Therefore, many important aspects of scholarship, including the production/generation, organization, analysis, sharing, discussing and reviewing of data, are missing. The collaboration between various contributors to a research agenda is hence not demonstrated. The current neglect may contribute to the competition between researchers and prevents related stakeholders from sharing data and contributing to activities that are neglected but are also critical to the development of science. It hence further inhibits knowledge creation and discovery. The importance of data collector/generator, technology and information managers, and data scientists, and the significance of their skills and expertise hence require more attention, documentation and recognition. To facilitate future scientific conducts, their impacts on e-Science and the whole academia should be recorded, understood, observed, measured, and tracked as well. In other words, how these neglected activities, expertise, skills, and knowledge improve the evolution and realization of original ideas should be investigated and recognized because of their importance to various aspects of e-Science. Therefore, a new contribution-recognition system that exhibits the collaborative and accumulative nature of science and human knowledge is critical because they can help solve the problems that the e-Science community is facing and facilitate its improvement.

The proliferation of secondary data analysis and the increasing importance of repurposing and reusing in the e-Science community will also drive the need for detailed documentation of different contributions that various contributors make to e-Science. The user of a specific dataset will need to understand why, what, when, and how data were collected, revised, cleaned-up, presented, reported, and used to determine whether a specific dataset can be reused for new purposes. Additionally, the user might need to understand how a specific dataset, other related information resources, or final research outcomes are produced and evolved, and their relationships to make decisions in new research contexts. In other words, it's important to have the understanding of expertise, activities and facilities that are associated with a specific dataset or research output. If the user knew the experts' skills and knowledge related to a specific research dataset, they might be able to identify what expertise could be brought in, contact the appropriate person, develop collaboration plans, and initiate new research projects or programs. Therefore, a need for a new contribution-recognition system that documents the roles and expertise of different contributors of e-Science research projects will be required to trace the various aspects of scholarly activities. It will not only help reuse and repurpose a specific dataset, but identify experts and organizations who can contribute to further e-Science projects and programs. The new system will hence need to connect with and integrate information or data about human resources.

The problems of how to cite research data has been raised in the e-Science community (D2C2, 2008). e-Science researchers will have the need to cite and record a specific dataset or a particular part of a research outcome when they use and repurpose it in their e-Science projects and programs. However, how to cite research outputs that are not publicly presented and published through well-established or existing channels is not fully explored. Traditional citation styles are developed primarily based on published works and publicly presented works, which contain relatively detailed and exhaustive provenance information. The use of research data is hence problematic because it cannot be systematically recorded, identified, and traced. The recognition of its contribution to research projects and scholarship is hence not addressed. Currently, published and publicly presented works are what is collected and offered by academic libraries. Unlike data and research outputs produced during projects and program, they are relatively structured and well-organized. Researchers will need to handle data and research outputs that vary greatly in terms of their levels of completeness, specificity, structure, characteristics, forms, and formats. Therefore, there will be needs to use and cite different versions of “incomplete” data and research outputs that evolve over time. e-Science researchers will also need to document and cite how a particular dataset and/or research outputs are used with various level of specificity according to research contexts. Thus, the new citation styles will need to be flexible enough to allow researchers to cite various versions of heterogeneous data and research outputs produced by different contributors from various sources. Therefore, new citation styles, as an integral part of the contribution-recognition system, will need to allow researchers to document and present the contributions of various research activities made by different actors. New citation styles will have to allow users to cite different types of works, including both published and unpublished research data and outcomes, and accommodate the inconsistent exhaustiveness and specificity of provenance information. It will also need to recognize those neglected activities and expertise. It will need to change the way that current academic impact is accounted for and ultimately enhance the importance of not only researchers who develop original ideas and host research projects and programs, but instrument designers/implementers and data developers/generators, librarians/data curators/data scientists who contribute their diverse skills and knowledge to e-Science and scholarship.

In summary, the problems that the e-Science community is facing call for a new contribution-recognition system that will better reflects the spirit of collaboration and the social nature of research, how an idea and a research agenda is developed, evolved, and completed, and how various activities and expertise facilitate both e-Science and the growth of human knowledge. The new system will need to help identify the position and values of a specific dataset and relevant research outputs in different disciplines and understand how they interrelate with each other. It will also need to demonstrate the contributions of different expertise and activities to science and scholarship and allow users to find and access to them when there is a need.

How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

Academic libraries need to serve their user communities to meet their institutional missions. Their users consist of faculty members who pursue scientific inquiries and students who engage in different types of learning activities, including research projects. Currently, academic libraries' engagement in research primarily takes place in pre-research and post-research phases (Gold, 2007). They hence lose a huge amount of potentially valuable data and other research outputs that are produced in the middle stage of research process. Academic libraries, who have expertise in information services and connection with important roles, including researchers, the IT community and various types of libraries, should take a leading role in shaping the e-Science development (Cathro, 2004). However, the information services currently offered by academic libraries are isolated from the reality that their user communities construct. Their involvement in supporting scholarship – the focus on acquiring, organizing, and offering published and publicly presented works, is separated from researchers' worlds because they are not grounded in and developed from users' daily practice. Nor do the current services support users' information needs from where they originate. To lead the e-Science revolution brought by the need for a new contribution-recognition system, academic libraries have to develop new research data and information services that enhance the recognition of contribution of various types of stakeholders, including data generator/collector, researchers, data scientists and librarians. Their participation should be systematically documented and traced to recognize and enhance the values of their contribution to e-Science and scholarship.

Academic libraries will have to develop approaches and applications that allow users to plug existing services and systems that they have adopted in their daily research practices. It will help directly elicit more contribution from users. The values of the services offered by academic libraries will further be enhanced because of users' participation. The appearance of Web 2.0 concepts and the development of derivative technologies have transformed the way that libraries offer services. Web 2.0 technologies, which embody the values of contribution by participation and engagement, may offer academic libraries a direction to develop services to solve the problems that the e-Science community is facing and shape the new scientific contribution-recognition system. They are developed according to the reality by their constructors, that is, users. Their values increase as users' participation accumulate (Casey and Savastinuk, 2006; Miller, 2005). They allow the user to annotate and index information and resources that they collect, access, organize and use (Trant and Wyman, 2006). They enable various types of use activities of information resources. Additionally, they are grounded in users' daily information seeking and management process and hence can better reflect their views and their relationships with the information resources they collect, develop, organize, or use in the context that they construct. The aggregated results of personal activities and information further contribute to broader communities (Hammond, et al, 2005) in terms of knowledge discovery and creation.

Academic libraries should also actively work with social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to allow their users to connect their personal data and information management with their social networking applications. New user-centered and user-directed services and applications should enable users to set up their privacy, including their desired levels of data sharing and the visibility of their personal organization of research data and materials, to keep in touch with other types of research contributors, to expand their social networks, and to develop collaboration on needs. Academic libraries could also bring their own viewpoints and provide services, such as their knowledge organization mechanisms and research data awareness services that allow their users to select, revise, add on, and construct their own meanings on them according to their needs and habitus. In this way, both professionally-added and user-generated values could co-exist and support different types of research data and information seeking behaviors in various situations.

In summary, academic libraries should develop new research data and information services to serve the e-Science community. It shall allow the user to play different roles and perform multiple functions based on their perspectives. The implications of Web 2.0 concepts and the advantages of social networking technologies might provide a good start that academic libraries can adopt. The transparency and the sharing of what they develop, collect, use, and the ways they organize should be encouraged. Different types of participation and contribution should be documented and recognized. It will help solve many problems that the e-Science community is facing, including collection development, description, organization, retrieval and discovery of data and other types of research outputs. It will further enhance the values and the use of both data resources and services offered by academic libraries.

Conclusion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

Academic libraries have facilitated scholarship taken place in various forms and contributed to the growth of human knowledge to fulfill their institutional missions for a long time. They should strive to actively engage in e-Science to meet their researcher users' needs emerged in different stages of research process. Academic libraries will need to rethink their roles in shaping and directing these changes. New contribution-recognition system that exhibits the accumulative, social, and collaborative characteristics of scientific conducts will be needed to solve the problems faced by the e-Science community. Academic libraries should take a leading role in developing research data and information services to support e-Science. They can help shape the new contribution-recognition system. The development of new services from where data and research outputs originate and are used, processed, organized, and sought might help address data sharing and intellectual property rights issues, and ethical concerns. Web 2.0 concepts and technologies and the expertise hunting and connection functions offered by social networking technologies might help shape the new contribution-recognition system because they enable, document and trace different types of activities and exhibit values of contribution by participation. As researchers' information needs are well-supported and met in their practice by academic libraries, the advancement of e-Science and scholarship will speed up.

Future Direction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

Further investigation will be needed to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the current citation-based contribution-recognition system. We will need a better understanding of what contribution is documented, how, when, and where it is recognized in the current system. It is also necessary to develop a multidimensional contribution model that exhibits a holist view of scholarship to understand various types of scientific contributions and their interdependence. In this way, we can understand what is and what is not currently recorded, recognized and tracked. Finally, we will be able to better identify the gaps between the current and the ideal contribution-recognition systems and develop strategies and services to bridge them and enhance e-Science and ultimately scholarship.

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References

The author would like to thank her advisor Professor Barbara Kwaśnik for her precious advice on revisions. Professor R. D. Lankes' instruction on this paper in the Seminar of Library and Information Science class is also highly appreciated.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Current State of e-Science
  5. What Will Change? – The Emergence of the New Contribution-Recognition System
  6. How Can Academic Libraries Lead the e-Science Revolution?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Future Direction
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References