The Internet, Science, and Transformations of Knowledge
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Talk on June 7, 2012 in the Harvard SAP Speaker Series (Office of the Senior Associate Provost for the Harvard Library).

Talk on June 7, 2012 in the Harvard SAP Speaker Series (Office of the Senior Associate Provost for the Harvard Library).
http://www.provost.harvard.edu/harvard_library/sap_speakers_series.php

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The Internet, Science, and Transformations of Knowledge Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The Internet, Science, and Transformations of Knowledge TITLE Ralph Schroeder & Eric T. Meyer Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford 2012 @etmeyer
  • 2. The OeSS Project 2005-2012 Oxford e-Social Science Project Oxford Oxford Institute for Internet e-Research Science, Innovation Institute Centre and Society at Saïd Business Schoolhttp://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/microsites/oess/
  • 3.  research using digital tools and data for the distributed and collaborative production of knowledge
  • 4. Research computingSupercomputing The Grid Web 2.0 Clouds Big Data
  • 5. Digital transformations of research Computational Manipulability + Research Technologies (Mathematization) Transformations of Research Front (For different fields) Socio-Technical Organization (Computerization movements)
  • 6. Computational Manipulability?• ‘the distinctiveness of the network of mathematical practitioners is that they focus their attention on the pure, contentless form of human communicative operations: on the gestures of marking items as equivalent and of ordering them in series, and on the higher-order operations which reflexively investigate the combinations of such operations’• ‘mathematical rapid-discovery science…the lineage of techniques for manipulating formal symbols representing classes of communicative operations’
  • 7. Research Technologies and Driving Forces• Off-the-shelf and special purpose, but ‘all- purpose’ (passport-like) machines across contexts• A hard core around which researchers can focus attention on a common research front• Movements (SIMs, Frickel and Gross) to computerize (mathematize?) research (Kling)• Core (research technologies) plus organization and movements - driving science (and research)
  • 8. The sociology of advancing (online) knowledge production• Research instruments plus mathematics -> high-consensus rapid-discovery science• Orientation to a community of researchers at the research front• Focus of attention limited by law of small numbers (Collins)• The extension of computation into research• The limits of understanding and explaining research-in-the-making… …versus a movement that applies across research
  • 9. Varieties of Research• Humanities: patterns in words, numbers, images, sounds…• Social Sciences: statistics, image analysis, mapping…• Sciences: Hacking’s ‘styles’• Mathematization, now Cloudified• All knowledge is digitally manipublable in e- Research…• …but relation of the object to the (physical) world or to the research front varies
  • 10. “ I get pretty much everything I need by way of primary sources now from the web. For primary sources, I’ve now got more material than I will need probably for the rest of my lifetime.
  • 11. Asking new questions?“ My greatest frustration in life is that we can now answer all the questions we had in 1980 faster, much, much faster. And we can get around to publishing them much, much more quickly. But what we haven’t yet done is develop the new questions and the new paradigms that should be possible, and that we as imaginative scholars should be able to imagine.
  • 12. Particle Physics and EGEE: The world’s largest e-Science collaborationSource: CERN, CERN-EX-0712023, http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1203203
  • 13. Citizen e-Science: Distribute computation
  • 14. Citizen e-Science: Distribute brainpowerNASA Clickworkers (ca. 2000)
  • 15. GAIN:Genetic AssociationInformation Network
  • 16. Years Type of study Samples DNA Sequencing Scope of collaboration1985-1997 Family association / 300 Hundreds of loci / 4 sites in USA linkage candidate genes1997-2007 Family association / 1,500 10,000 SNPs 13 sites in USA linkage2007-2009 Genome-wide 5,000 1,200,000 SNPs Multiple multi- association institution collaborations in USA 2010-? Whole genome 30,000 Millions of SNPs World-wide collaboration Future Whole genome ? Entire genome World-wide sequencing sequence collaboration
  • 17. SPLASH: Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance, and Status of HumpbacksMeyer, E.T. (2009). Moving from small science to big science: Social and organizational impediments to largescale data sharing. In Jankowski, N. (Ed.), E-Research: Transformation in Scholarly Practice (RoutledgeAdvances in Research Methods series). New York: Routledge.
  • 18. Humpback whales 19
  • 19. 20
  • 20. e-Research in Sweden• Sweden has a major e-Research initiative• ’Universal’ personal identification• Uniquely powerful datasets (e.g. twin registry)• Significance: If Swedes can’t do it, no one can?• Use of population data in a ’transparent’ society with high trust between people, authorities and researchers…• …but, implementation of secure distributed access and ’incidents’ creating public concerns• Swedish National Data Service
  • 21. Swiss BioGridNovartis
  • 22. Weisenburger vs. the Wiki on Pynchon Comparison of book and wiki annotation efforts Entries (topical Size + alphabetical Annotation (no. of words) + page-by-page) Contributors Book Form Annotation: Weisenburger’s 162000 904 1 (22) Gravity’s Rainbow 120 Wiki: Against the 455057 + 1358 235 Day + 4067Source: Schroeder, R., & Besten, M. D. (2008). Literary Sleuths Online: e-Research collaboration on the Pynchon Wiki.Information, Communication & Society, 11(2), 167 - 187.
  • 23. Fig. 1 Culturomic analyses study millions of books at once. J Michel et al. Science 2011;331:176-182Published by AAAS
  • 24. Source: Moretti, F. (2011). Network Theory, Plot Analysis. New Left Review 68, p. 81
  • 25. Browsing and Searching: Humanities 79% Google 66% Google Scholar Libraries 59% Visit the library 55% Browse library materials online 62% Search library materials online 83% Citation chaining Journals 48% Browse printed journals 76% Browse online journals Peers 95% Consult peers and expertsReport available at http://www.rin.ac.uk/humanities-case-studies
  • 26. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Physical Sciences Google 83% Browsing or reading online journals 78% Peers or experts 78%Searching databases (e.g. Web of Science, arXiv) 72% Citation chaining 72%Browsing databases (e.g. Web of Science, arXiv) 63% Students 39% Notification services TITLE 37% Google Scholar 36% Email lists 36% Browsing library materials online 33% Browsing or reading print journals 29% Keyword searches of journals 29% Wikis 26% Web 2.0 services 25% Keyword searches of library materials 16% Browsing library materials in person 14% RSS Feeds 12% Social network sites 7% n=76Report available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1991753
  • 27. n=76Important Information ResourcesGoogle Particle Physics 100% Gamma Ray Burst 71% Nuclear Physics 87% Chemistry 90% Earth Science 73% Nanoscience 100% Zooniverse 63% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
  • 28. n=76 Google or Google Scholar as1 st or 2 nd most Important strategy 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 30% Nanoscience 60% 80% 36% Earth Science 27% 55% 50% Particle Physics 0% 50% 40% Nuclear Physics 7% 47% 21%Gamma Ray Burst 0% 21% 20% Chemistry 0% 20% 0% Google Zooniverse 0% 0% Google Scholar Either Google or Google Scholar
  • 29. Digital as a dirty word“ I do feel pressure to work more with originals than with the digital images, but for the most part I do feel like I get more out of using these images on my computer. But there’s a certain pressure that that’s not what top scholars do because that’s not what top scholars did 25 years ago
  • 30. What difference does it make?– A physical core network of digital tools and data (computational manipulability)– A research community focuses its efforts– The expandable (‘clouds’) capacity of research instruments + new organizational modes = ongoing diffusion of e-Research across domains– Limits of this spread = limits of attention on new fronts towards which there are orientations: ‘advances’ versus existing directions
  • 31. Research Technologies and Driving Forces • Off-the-shelf and special purpose, but ‘all-purpose’ (passport-like) machines across contexts • A hard core around which researchers can focus attention on a common research front • Movements (SIMs, Frickel and Gross) to computerize (mathematize?) research (Kling) • Core (research technologies) plus organization and movements - driving science (and research)
  • 32. The sociology of advancing (online)knowledge production• Research instruments plus mathematics -> high- consensus rapid-discovery science• Orientation to a community of researchers at the research front• Focus of attention limited by law of small numbers (Collins)• The extension of computation into research• The limits of understanding and explaining research-in-the-making… …versus a movement that applies across research
  • 33. Oxford Internet Institute Ralph Schroeder Eric T. Meyer ralph.schroeder@oii.ox.ac.uk eric.meyer@oii.ox.ac.ukhttp://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=120 http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=120 With support from: