chapter  2
19 Pages

Towards a Sociology of e-Research: Shaping Practice and Advancing Knowledge


The availability and appropriation of advanced computing tools in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities have accelerated in recent years. Although technology-driven research is not new to some intellectual fi elds, such as traditional big science, e.g. particle physics, or the emergent biosciences, e.g. genomics and bioinformatics, the Internet and high-performance computing have given a new impetus to the application and direction of computing in science and scholarship more generally. Several national funding programs have been initiated that can be broadly described as e-research, such as the U.K. e-Science Program funded by the EPSRC (Economic and Physical Science Research Council) and the Cyberinfrastructure Program funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation) in the U.S. These initiatives have been accompanied by large-scale funding and the development of projects across a range of application areas, from combinatorial chemistry to the interpretive social sciences. The vision underpinning these programs is that the new tools and resources being developed will greatly enhance research and enable new forms of global collaboration.