Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cyberspace Collaboration Helps AIDS Research

Date:
February 23, 2001
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
Collaborating in cyberspace leads to fresh insights and more efficient use of resources but presents some challenges as well. That's the lesson learned so far from AIDS researchers who have worked together in a "virtual research center" for the past two years, while physically located at four Midwestern universities.

San Francisco --- Collaborating in cyberspace leads to fresh insights and more efficient use of resources but presents some challenges as well. That's the lesson learned so far from AIDS researchers who have worked together in a "virtual research center" for the past two years, while physically located at four Midwestern universities.

Related Articles


Stephanie Teasley, an assistant research scientist in the University of Michigan School of Information who is coordinating and studying the group's use of collaborative technology, reported on the project's successes and stumbling blocks at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Feb. 19.

The AIDS project differs from ones in which researchers simply share a large database, says Teasley. "With a large database, individual researchers come in, take what they need and leave," just as they would at a library. "But in this project, they're getting together on the Internet and deciding what kind of data they want to generate, how to collect it, who should collect it, where to keep it and how to display it. Then, once they've all put their data in, they're meeting over the Internet in real time to look at and discuss it."

A recent "virtual lab meeting" illustrated the benefits of working this way. Researchers at the University of Minnesota were about to have their regular, weekly lab meeting when they realized they could really use the expertise of collaborators at Northwestern University and a scientific advisory board member in Santa Fe. Teasley arranged for the far-flung scientists---as well as three more who were in different buildings on the Minnesota campus---to join the meeting via PlaceWare Auditorium software, which allows users to broadcast presentations to anyone who has a standard Web browser. The researchers talked to one another over a standard phone line.

"The local people were particularly thrilled because the remote people were fairly interactive during the meeting, and that provided input and perspective that they just wouldn't have gotten in an all-local meeting," says Teasley. And because lab technicians and postdoctoral fellows---who do much of the everyday labor behind the research---were present, they could provide specific details about the data that might be lacking in discussions among senior-level scientists.

Fresh perspectives from collaborators on other campuses sometimes take the research in whole new directions. At the very least, the arrangement helps researchers see additional opportunities for gleaning as much information as they can from every tissue and blood sample they collect from patients.

"The data pool increases, but it also goes beyond that to making the most of scarce resources," Teasley notes. What's more, the cybercollaboration enhances the sense of shared purpose. As one scientist told Teasley, "without this technology, we would be just a tissue supplier to the group. Now we're real partners in the whole project."

When the National Institutes of Health provided funds to set up this "center without walls"---the first of its kind created through the NIH Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) program---researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin hoped it would enhance communication, but weren't really sure what to expect. At first, the need to schedule virtual meetings seemed a lot more complicated than just running down the hall to a colleague's office with a sheaf of freshly collected data.

"Until they really knew how it was going to pay off, it was just one more nagging demand on their to-do list, and not very high up because it went away pretty easily if they ignored it," says Teasley. "But now that they're really working together and have gotten more invested in the work, scheduling has become less of an issue. Now it's become important enough to them that it's on the priority list of important everyday or weekly things."

Teaching the researchers to use the collaborative tools was another challenge. But Teasley and her team worked hard to accommodate every request, so that the scientists "wouldn't see the technology as something in the way." Now that their familiarity and confidence with collaborative technology has increased, "they just fire it up and talk to each other."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Cyberspace Collaboration Helps AIDS Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010222075000.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2001, February 23). Cyberspace Collaboration Helps AIDS Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010222075000.htm
University Of Michigan. "Cyberspace Collaboration Helps AIDS Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010222075000.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins