Electronic collaboration in science


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Attending meetings is a perfect opportunity to interact with people who have shared interests [ 5 ]. Take time to consider all aspects of the potential collaboration. Ask yourself, will this collaboration really make a difference in my research? Does this grant constitute a valid motivation to seek out that collaboration? Do I have the expertise required to tackle the proposed tasks? What priority will this teamwork have for me? Will I be able to deliver on time? If the answer is no for even one of these questions, the collaboration could be ill-fated.

Enter a collaboration because of a shared passion for the science. Carefully establishing the purpose of the collaboration and delegating responsibilities is priceless. Often the collaboration will be defined by a grant. In that case, revisit the specific aims regularly and be sure the respective responsibilities are being met. Otherwise, consider writing a memo of understanding, or, if that is too formal, at least an e-mail about who is responsible for what.

Given the delegation of tasks, discuss expectations for authorship early in the work. Having said that, leave room for evolution over the course of the collaboration. New ideas will arise. Have a mutual understanding up-front such that these ideas can be embraced as an extension of the original collaboration. Discuss adjustments to the timelines and the order of authors on the final published paper, accordingly.


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In any case, be comfortable with the anticipated credit you will get from the work. The history of science is littered with stories of unacknowledged contributions. Scientific research is such that every answered question begs a number of new questions to be answered.

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Collaboration - Wikipedia

Do not digress into these new questions without first discussing them with your collaborators. Do not change your initial plans without discussing the change with your collaborators. Thinking they will be pleased with your new approach or innovation is often misplaced and can lead to conflict. Share data, protocols, materials, etc.

Remain available. A trusting relationship is important for the collaborative understanding of the problem being tackled and for the subsequent joint thinking throughout the evolution of the collaboration. If you do not have respect for the scientific work of your collaborators, you should definitely not be collaborating. Respect here especially means playing by Rules 2—4. If you do not respect your collaborators, it will show. Likewise, if they don't respect you. Look for the signs. The signs will depend on the personality of your collaborators and range from being aggressive to being passive—aggressive.

This concern is the foundation for our experiments in teaching business information systems in Western Europe. Additional information can be found in [8]. We summarize some of the results here. In order to motivate our students to use these systems we design scenarios that are integrated into the curriculum. In their paper, Brassard and Daele, examined within the context of the European project Recre sup, the effort required by teachers, students and institutions in higher education in order to introduce ICT into the curriculum. Based on case studies, they argue that we need to consider 17 dimensions in order to design, implement and evaluate such scenarios.

Collaboration

In the following table, we use 15 dimensions to describe our scenario based on the use of different collaborative platforms Mayetic Village 2 , Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server 3 , and intranet. The goal of the scenario is the use of a collaborative platform within projects. Each environment can be accessed via the Internet.

Each group of students can share resources, exchange information, ideas and documents.

How Collaboration Leads To Great Ideas

Table 2. This technological platform similar in many aspects to more dedicated environments such as BCSW or Quickplace facilitated the creation of "Business" Portals equipped with research and document management, and collaborative functions. It is closely integrated with personal productivity tools widely used in the student community: Internet Explorer, Word, Excel and other Office applications, to create, manage and share information. We have used this platform to provide our students with course targeting team competencies. We followed a Problem-Based Learning strategy, i.

Within this framework, students are the primary initiators, and instructors act as facilitators rather than teachers. The data collected from these experiments are based on participants' comments. The model distinguishes multiple categories of problems that can be encountered in virtual teamwork. Each category becomes a barrier to effective interaction and a hurdle to be cleared The "onion skin" model includes nine layers from Motivational issues to Creative content formation. One cannot reach the internal layers if substantial barriers are imposed by the outer ones.

There needs to be a leader at the beginning of the experiment. Students had similar technical backgrounds. Presently we do not mix students from different cultures or even different universities, since the experimentation has been solely carried out at the first author's university. All our participants are management majors, so this was not an issue in this experiment.

In another class 17 students , we introduced the use of an e-community Figure3. The course is case-based: students use this platform to interactively formulate a project in the field of marketing.

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Project goal is to launch a new agribusiness product in the cheese sector. Students must create the business procedures required to propose a new product based on three indicators: a market study with real data, a marketing strategy, and a marketing mix. The different groups 4 groups are formed by teachers, with a leader elected for each group.

The main role of the teachers as leaders within organisations is to coach and motivate teams, as well as monitor communications. One consequence of this experiment is that students acquire knowledge on "Business Service Applications Providers" companies that provide computer and related support services to their clients and on how decision makers need to consider such outsourcing in the field of information technology. Today, major software companies are packaging their applications and tailoring them to a client's specific problems.

Functionalities linked to e-collaboration are provided within this environment: forum, documents sharing, notification, creation of folders, creation of shared rooms, and group agenda. Pages are of different types: pages created with Microsoft Pack Office, simple pages created directly in the environment hidden HMTL code , imported pages, Vikao pages, and Acrobat files. For security reasons, we do not allow students to manage or modify public documents.

The notification function is helpful because it alerts users when they receive e-mail. All users have access to a site map Figure 4. With this functionality, end-users can rapidly determine which of the different areas are shared or not shared. Three types of data were collected in this experiment: evaluation of students' interactions with environment, their production, and a face-to-face interview for each group.

This project was conducted over a five-week period. Students and teachers reported that this site map was very useful for project management. Major project objective is to allow part time executive students an increased visibility of courses, program and university life in Newcastle, whether they are on campus or at their companies.

Other project objectives include the creation of dynamic and interactive communication tools to initiate and extend contacts with the school and its business community. Three competencies were targeted for this business community. The first is natural assimilation of the tools in their executive students' workspace at school, as well as at their companies.

The second concerns using this technology in their daily work. This is a key step in educating students about the efficacy of learning to adopt new tools for current use, as well as for their life-long learning experience. Finally, collaboration has been viewed as a key competence in itself: the program has been constructed not as a series of individual courses, but as a set of collective learning paths. The implementation of those objectives required technical and methodological choices, for which the SharePoint platform was the best choice.

We worked with the teaching staff to develop means of learning evaluation, which takes into account the acquisition of targeted competencies. The individual evaluations of the modules incorporate students' activity on the portal, the nature of their collaboration, and their ability to adapt portal structure to the needs and objectives of their work.

The portal project has been viewed very favourably by a large majority of MBA students. Portal was explicitly mentioned in written evaluations of both their course and their instructor. Most students have praised the use of the portal to explore and structure their course work rather than using the technology simply to "store PowerPoint presentations". The majority of students also feel that the project focuses on developing competencies that were market relevant and not just abstract knowledge.


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  7. Finally, several students have underlined that public access to their work would be a definite advantage in selling their skills to current and future employers. The instructors of other courses in the MBA program provide a more mixed evaluation of the portal strategy. Although they felt that the technical skills required to manage their course portal are easily attainable, they struggle with how to adapt their current course content and process to benefit from the project.

    Many have expressed different opinions over the required coherence degree of programme's learning objectives, as well as to what degree their courses could be digitized. Most feel that the project entails more work than more traditional instruction, and many have expressed concerns of how such work would be recognized by their professional communities. Program administrators stressed the contrast between project potential and university real environment.

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    But these can be overcome with the appropriate use of communication technologies that bring the partners closer than ever before. To deal with conflicts, general rules and principles should be laid down. Formal rules for such a close team of partners are a constraint rather than a precondition. Given the nature of human relations, partners cannot be assured of the same set of relationships throughout the entire period of collaboration.

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