World Wide Science: Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities

The Book and Conference

The Conference

In June 2007, academics from across the globe came together at the e-Horizons conference to discuss and shape the e-Horizons publication. This was initially entitled World Wide Science: The Promises, Threats and Realities of e-Research and was later re-titled: World Wide Research: Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities. The book was edited by the Directors of the e-Horizons Project: Professor William Dutton and Professor Paul Jeffreys. It is available from major book stores, including Amazon, Blackwells bookstore and Waterstones.

E-research will transform not only how scientists, humanists and other researchers do their work, but also what they will discover, with whom they will collaborate, how they will share work, how they will report their findings, and what 'know-how' they will require. The conference focused on how emerging technologies will reshape not only how researchers do what they do, but also the outcomes of their work as they 'reconfigure access' to networks of information and expertise in the sciences and humanities on local and global scales. What are these new technologies of e-research, how are they being applied, and what are the implications for the ethical, legal and institutional structures and processes of research across multiple disciplines?

Book Overview

The world is increasingly described as being flat; intersecting technologies remove barriers, enable increased participation, improve access, offer new ways to combine resources and skills, change the way the world acts, and, indeed, change the world. This book explores the intersection of research with new opportunities offered by developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

One of the most fundamental drivers for change - and the subsequent analysis of change - is the increase in the amount of data generated, and the challenge to extract information and knowledge from within the data deluge. More data will be created in the next five years than through the world's entire history. The challenge for society is to be able to search for and find specific datasets, to combine the datasets in new ways, to undertake new types of CPU intensive analysis, to visualize the output, and thereby to extract information and knowledge. The term 'e-Research' can be taken to encapsulate the activities which use a spectrum of advanced computing capabilities to further research activity within this new data-rich world. e-Research will transform not only how researchers from science, humanities and social sciences do their work, but also what they will discover, with whom they will collaborate, how they will share work, how they will report their findings, and what information and knowledge they will acquire.

The intersection of innovative ICT with research and the challenge of extracting information and knowledge from within a data deluge create a new world of opportunity, together with a new set of challenges. Some of the challenges are technical, but many are social. Different communities and cultures collaborate; data are shared and need to be kept private and secure; privacy, confidentiality and ethical considerations emerge; and some social barriers preclude co-operation. This edited collection focuses on how the emerging ICTs are reshaping, and will continue to reshape, not only how research is done, but also deliverables from research, as a consequence of 'reconfigured access'. (Thomas L Friedman, The WORLD IS Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.)