chapter  8
14 Pages

Moving from Small Science to Big Science: Social and Organizational Impediments to Large Scale Data Sharing

WithERIC T. MEYER

One of the challenges of building collaborative information systems for scientifi c and social scientifi c data is that many new projects are actually extensions of existing projects, often going back decades, which have embedded logic and work practices that are highly resistant to change. This resistance to change cannot, however, simply be attributed to conservatism on the part of individual scientists. On the contrary, many of the scientists that are discussed in this chapter are enthusiastic about the idea of contributing data to larger collaborations in exchange for the additional data that they will, in turn, have available to them. In practice, however, protocols that are the result of years of cumulative decisions at the local level have resulted in information storage systems that are highly idiosyncratic and often resistant to federation. To demonstrate this point, I report on two projects in very different domains which nevertheless share similar barriers to building a collaborative infrastructure.