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Dissertation Information for Luo Airong

- Luo Airong

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (2008)

- Judith S. Olson

- Michael Cohen
- Fiona Lee
- Steven Jackson

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Imperfect partnership: Effects of collaboratories on scientists from developing countries

Abstract: Academic research and various reports from research institutions and governmental agencies have consistently indicated a gap in the scientific output of developing and developed countries. Researchers and policy makers are trying hard to reduce the disparity. In recent years, researchers have hypothesized that a new form of scientific collaboration-the "collaboratory"-holds promises to greatly benefit scientists from developing countries. It is argued that distributed collaborations enabled by various information technologies can allow scientists from developing countries to reach remotely located experts, instruments, and databases that their local institutions cannot afford. However, there have been no empirical studies to prove or disprove this.

Prior studies of the impact of information technology on scientific work tend to focus on the correlation between technology use and scientific productivity as measured by publications and citations. This approach ignores the mediating factors affecting the relationship between information technology use and scientific productivity. As a result, we are not clear about the dynamics through which information technology exerts its influence. Neither do we understand how information technology enhances productivity, if it indeed does so. Thus, the current study focuses on some mediating factors that purportedly lead to productivity, such as scientists' access to resources and participation in communities of practice.

Adopting a qualitative approach (interviews complemented by field observation), I explore how scientists from developing countries benefit from reaching remotely located resources and participating in communities of practice in the virtual organization of a collaboratory. I also demonstrate how the relation of resource dependency, the nature of collaborative work, geographical distance and cultural differences influence scientists' participation in collaborataries. These factors affect the ability of scientists from developing countries to access resources of collaboratories, build relationships with other collaboratory members and learn knowledge and practice from their collaborators in the developed world. In addition, I show that collaboratories facilitate technology transfer from scientists from developed countries to those from developing countries. However, scientists from developing countries demonstrate an urgent need to build general competence in performing research. This kind of competence can only be achieved through long-term exposure to the practices of advanced laboratories from the developed world. Collaboratories failed to meet the need because of their project-oriented nature and their funding mechanism.

MPACT Scores for Luo Airong

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2009-06-03 19:55:09

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Students under Luo Airong

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