Project Overview

Project Team The CIP explores the centrality of collaborative, interdisciplinary work in order to build cyberinfrastructure for the ages.

As the new scientific cyberinfrastructure is emerging, a central question being posed is how to share data across multiple distributed organizational and social contexts. While there have been a wealth of suggestions for technical fixes for this pressing concern (particularly important since some of the great political questions of our day, such as preserving biodiversity and developing a sustainable relationship with our environment pivot on the ability to federate data across organizational and disciplinary contexts), there has been little study - and no comparative study - of the organizational and social dimensions of differing interoperability strategies.

Our working hypothesis, drawing on research in the field of social informatics over the past fifteen years, is that the creation of a common shared data infrastructure entails complex negotiations relating to the relative institutional weight of the different actors (institutions have a range of motives for subscribing or not to interoperability strategies), the nature of their disciplinary organization (in particular reward structures; openness to interdisciplinary work; history of use of large datasets) and the nature of their domain work (degree of commitment to long-term data storage and re-use; decay rate of data over time; need to draw on large federate datasets).

Through this study, we will develop a grounded understanding of the organizational complexity producing shared scientific cyberinfrastructure. As contemporary scientific questions increase in scope, conceptual frameworks must also broaden. The CIP project considers a collaborative interdisciplinary team as a strategy for working with larger-scale interdependent configurations. A team of participants across disciplines is requisite for posing as well as addressing contemporary cyberinfrastructure issues.

NSF Award


Report 2005