Research Remix

August 15, 2008

Participation statement for SIG USE 2008

Filed under: conferences — Tags: , — Heather Piwowar @ 10:52 am

The theme of SIG USE 8th Annual Research Symposium at ASIST 2008 is “Future Directions: Information Behavior in design & the making of relevant research.”

It will be held Saturday, October 25, 2008, from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency, Columbus, OH

The organizers of the symposium are asking (details) for a Participation Statement in advance… a one-pager that addresses the topic of “communicating the significance of information behavior research to designers of products, systems and services” through four provided questions. The statement is due today. I just finished my draft. I welcome comments on these thoughts, either before or after I submit it this afternoon :)

How does our research address the transformative relationship between people and information?

I study the sharing and reuse of scientific datasets. When scientists make their collected data openly available (often at personal cost in time and opportunity), they increase the information resources of the scientific community. Other scientists may then choose to examine, critique, aggregate, refine, and repurpose these datasets to achieve efficient scientific progress.

Understanding the behaviours of people and information in this complex system is crucial if we wish to develop and refine policies, tools, and practices for effective research.

What fundamental questions should we be looking at in our research?
  • What motivates scientific researchers to share data?
  • Are current incentives for voluntary data-sharing effective? How can they be improved?
  • Are current data-sharing mandates effective? How can they be improved?
  • Does the quality of shared data suffer when the act of sharing is mandated?
  • Sharing information transforms Research – does sharing information transform Researchers?
  • What motivates researchers to reuse scientific datasets? What obstacles do they encounter?
  • Does reusing data in fact lead to more efficient, focused research progress? With what caveats?
  • Are the costs of sharing data worth the benefits?
How are we to move towards making a greater impact on organizations and designers?

Three ingredients allow research to make a difference in the real world: we need to make our research relevant, actionable, and accessible.

Relevant: Choose research settings that are as concrete and realistic as possible. Don’t just survey: measure demonstrated behaviour. Don’t just mock-up: observe the users with their native applications. Don’t just invent clean tasks: study users doing the work they really do.

Actionable: Study issues where results can be directly translated into change. For example, focus on how funder and journal policies impact data sharing behaviour, rather than the correlation between data sharing behaviour and the number-of-paper-authors.

Accessible: Publish open access (OA journals, or self-archive on the web). Publish in the journals and conferences of the intended audience. Write without jargon. Organize tutorials, workshops, and bird-of-a-feather sessions at audience conferences. Send letters to journal editors. Volunteer for policy committees and design teams. Blog. Film a video. Share your data. Encourage others to do the same.

How can or should information behavior research be presented to translate effectively into the language of other information research communities?

As a new member of the information research community, I look forward to learning from the conversation!

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