We will report on our current and past research projects undertaken within the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) that investigate collaboration and data sharing in the development of scientific virtual organizations.
We use qualitative social science methods such as interviewing and observation to understand not only the social side of data sharing and information infrastructure development, but the interaction between the social and the technical. Our work has included investigations of data sharing and distributed database development in fields such as neuroscience, metagenomics, epidemiology, and more recently astrophysics.
Our findings shed light on the social and organizational processes of scientific work and software development work so that we can better understand and therefore better support data sharing.
In order to support data sharing, we must understand how data embodies scientific practices and values. Such an understanding will enable us to create systems and policies that will help rather than hinder scientific innovation.