Volume 13 Number 9/10
Library Support for "Networked Science"
An interesting article appeared in the September 7, 2007, issue of The Chronicle for Higher Education: "The Dawn of Networked Science" by Diana Rhoten.1 The article particularly caught my eye because of its relevance to the two-part commentary by Anna Gold that appears in this issue of D-Lib Magazine in which Gold discusses cyberinfrastructure and possible new roles for librarians to support scientific research and data curation.
Rhoten outlines how scientific research has moved forward through various phases, beginning with "bench-top" science in which individual scientists conducted their research alone; to "Big Science" involving research by many scientists employed at one facility (for example, the Manhattan Project); to "Team Science" in which many researchers employed by multiple organizations conduct research on one project that is "anchored in a large cooperative research center" (Rhoten's example here is the Human Genome Project); and most recently to what Rhoten calls "Networked Science" in which scientists from multiple organizations collaborate or cooperate to solve a particular problem, but do so as individual researchers in a distributed research environment (one of her examples of this is the Biomedical Informatics Research Network2).
Libraries have traditionally been the custodians of the scholarly scientific record. Advances in digital technologies have introduced both new opportunities and challenges for achieving their mission in that regard. As cyberinfrastructure creates the setting in which "Team Science" and "Networked Science" can be accomplished, information professionals will need to learn new skills and take on new roles to support scientific research and data curation. They will also need to deal with complex issues, such as ensuring privacy and protecting intellectual property within a distributed information environment.
1. Rhoten, Diana. "The Dawn of Networked Science." The Chronicle of Higher Education. September 7, 2007, <http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i02/02b01201.htm>. (Non-subscribers to The Chronicle of Higher Education who wish to read the full article can create a free account and purchase an online pass to access the article.)
2. For information about the Biomedical Informatics Research Network, see <http://www.nbirn.net/>.
Copyright© 2007 Corporation for National Research Initiatives
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