chapter  3
17 Pages

e-Research as Intervention


New research tools, be they digital libraries or digital work environments, are usually seen as means to support and further develop research. This also holds for the relatively recent investments in cyberinfrastructures for research in the U.S. and the e-science program in the U.K. (Atkins et al., 2003; Berman, Fox, & Hey, 2003; Hey & Trefethen, 2002). The hope is that it will be possible to create powerful “Virtual Research Environments”, “consisting of a set of sophisticated tools and technologies that will ease the extraction of information from data, and of knowledge from information” (Hey, 2006: vii). By working in these new information environments, researchers should become more productive and better able to cope with interdisciplinary problems. Physics, astronomy, and the life sciences have been at the forefront of e-science, but e-science is increasingly seen by some actors as relevant to the social sciences and humanities as well. The series of conferences on e-social science that started in 2005 in Manchester, within the framework of the UK e-science program, is an interesting example of this development.1