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e-research

some jotted notes, LM 2009-03-20

In resopnse to the question about the differences between:


  • eResearch in education

  • eResearch for education

  • Education for eResearch

  • (Educational) research for education and e-research

eResearch in education

School students should be modern knowledge-builders and school curriculum should be based on knowledge, ways inquiry and tools of investigation that are relevant for present day and future society/science/economy. Students and teachers should have access to the same data, methods and tools for conducting scientific investigations as modern research communities do. Current school curriculum is essentially based on the knowledge and ways of inquiry that can’t produce knowledge relevant for contemporary society. The gap between school science and “real” science is as never big; and students do not find motivating and challenging to learn knowledge that is not relevant for present day world. Present eResearch infrastructures have been created almost exclusively for “big real” science and are not accessible neither for teachers nor for students. In order to make learning relevant and engaging for school students we need to make knowledge generated by eResearch as well as eResearch methods and tools available for schools. In other words we need to integrate eReseach in education.

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Recently published NSF agenda “Fostering Learning in the Networked World” deserves attention for at least several reasons. First, it puts the learning sciences at the centre of the cyberlearning agenda. Second, it takes the opportunities to improve education by harnessing and using scientific and learning data seriously.

The Two Data Deluges: Opportunities and Threats

"Among the greatest benefits—and challenges— of cyberinfrastructure is the deluge of scientific data <….> Today’s highly instrumented science and engineering research is generating data at far greater rates and volumes than ever before possible. In addition, as more human communication takes place in the networked world for education, commerce, and social activity, an extensive digital trace is being created, a deluge of behavioral data. These data are extremely valuable for modeling human activity and for tailoring responses to the individual…” (24)


Will this open a door for eResearch in education and for education?

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The Oxford eResearch Conference 2008
Date: 11-13 September 2008
Location: University of Oxford: The Oxford Internet Institute and Oxford e-Research Centre

This multi-disciplinary, international conference on e-Research, use and implications of information and communication technologies (ICTs), like the Internet, in shaping research across the disciplines.

Full papers are here

Sent: Thursday, 31 July 2008 4:59 PM
Subject: [Digital Innovation] 01.01.Events in August

1 August: DIU Launch and seminar Why a historian needs the DIU: some informal case-studies
Iain McCalman, Professorial Fellow, Department of History, University of Sydney
http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/digitalinnovation/seminars.html

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Sent: Friday, 1 August 2008 5:02 PM
Subject: Formation of Intersect - the new peak eResearch body for NSW

Dear members of the eResearch community,

GOOD NEWS
I am delighted to inform you of the establishment of Intersect, the new peak eResearch organisation for NSW.
The Intersect proposal was approved by six NSW universities and funding has been provided through the universities and the NSW government. Intersect was formally established as a not-for-profit company on 25thJune. A Board of Directors has been appointed with Professor Mark Wainwright as Chairman, and Dr Michael Briers as interim CEO.

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v. 30-06-2008, unpublished draft

The new Labour Government’s educational initiatives with the promises “to turn every secondary school in Australia into a digital school” and “boost the research and development capacity” have triggered a range of new discussions about the implications of new political agendas on educational research. Research-related discussions at the ACER and education.au symposia “A digital education revolution” and the Educational Research Futures task group’s discussions initiated by the AARE and ARDEN are just few such examples to mention.

There has been a lot of action on another digital end of research policy and practice, called “e-research”. Among many others, the key developments over the last two years include the release of the Australian E-Research Strategy , the Strategic Roadmap and Investment Plan and the recent announcement of the Roadmap’s Review . These developments, however, have been almost unnoticed by the educational research community and education, as a discipline, essentially has been left out from the national e-research strategies and budgets. Why bother?
E-research has already shaped research agendas of many “soft” sciences. E-humanities and e-social social sciences have become important buzzwords in many research funding games and, in some countries, even got dedicated lines in the national research budgets.

E-research in educational research is a different story...

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Social and cultural aspects of e-research, grid and/or cyberinfrastructure become increasingly an attractive research topic for social scientists and cultural anthropologists. It is not surprising why. Interesting and important research themes can be found almost on the surface of e-research phenomenon. As an example, at least two research questions are represented in the following titles of the papers presented at e-research conferences this year:

  • M. Daw, R. Procter, Y. Lin, T. Hewitt, W. Jie, A. Voss, K. Baird, A. Turner, M. Birkin K. Miller, W. Dutton, M. Jirotka, R. Schroeder, G. de la Flor, P. Edwards, R. Allan, X. Yang, R. Crouchley (2007) Developing an e-Infrastructure for Social Science. Paper presented at the Third international conference on e-social science, Ann Arbor, MI, US. URL

Question 1: Is there a limit for productive collaboration?

  • J. Dalziel, C. Nguyen, R. Warouw (2007) Macquarie University: ASK-OSS, DRAMA and RAMS: eResearch support from MELCOE. Paper presented at the E-Research Australasia 2007. Brisbane. URL

Question 2: Is there a limit for effective(?) technical communication?

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Last week some e-science websites published the following exciting news:

“Prestigious Prix Europa award has been won by the BBC Climate Change Experiment, in which the BBC and the Oxford-run ClimatePrediction.net project worked together and encouraged over 250,000 people to donate computer time to the world's largest climate modelling experiment…” (Climateprediction.net news 22-Oct-2007)

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"To design one is nothing,
To build one is easy,
To fly one is everything."

(Otto Lilienthal)

The UK PolicyGrid tries to design and implement a middleware infrastructure that supports policy-related research activities based on social science research. The project called “Semantic Grid Tools for Rural Policy Development & Appraisal” (nb. it’s not difficult to imagine similar policy grid for educational policy decision-making and research). The design of the middleware is based on the provenance architecture. It requires to provide a 'thick' description of the contextual information that allows to interpret data and resources adequately (e.g., Who, What, Where, Why, When, Which and How the resource was created). The concept of the Semantic Grid is central to the design of this project.

Challenging idea?

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All right. Let’s face it: “Today’s research community must assume responsibility for building a robust data and information infrastructure for the future” (p.1). Recently the group of QUT researchers produced the report that analyses the legal aspects of research data infrastructures and provides some suggestions how to build it:

  • Fitzgerald, A. & Pappalardo, K. (2007). Building the infrastructure for data access and reuse in collaborative research: An analysis of the legal context. Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project. URL

Summary

“This Report examines the legal framework within which research data is generated, managed, disseminated and used. <…> The Report considers how these legal rules apply to define rights in research data and regulate the generation, management and sharing of data. The Report also describes and explains current practices and attitudes towards data sharing. A wide array of databases is analysed to ascertain the arrangements currently in place to manage and provide access to research data. Finally, the Report encourages researchers and research organisations to adopt proper management and legal frameworks for research data outputs…” (CreativeCommons, 12-09-2007).

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An interesting scoping study called "Data Repository for Teacher Education" (Australian Council of Deans of Education) was funded by the Carrick Institute In the beginning of the year. This is probably one of the first signs of a ‘serious’ e-research in Australian education.

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It seems, that the idea to use iPod generation technologies for scientific dissemination attracts increasingly more public attention. The news about SciVee website, discussed in one of the blogs before, have been reappearing in various sources: InformationWeek, The Wired Campus.

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This blog is a blend of the facts, ideas and visions from two E-research Australasia presentations about scientific publishing and dissemination of research data and results. The ideas and examples come from two science domains: astronomy and computational biology. At the end there are some quick observations and thoughts about recent trends in educational dissemination.

Sources:

  • Phil Bourne: Thoughts on the future of scientific dissemination. URL
  • Alex Szalay: Science in an Exponential World. URL

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This information about USQ SII Road Show was distributed via e-research mailing list. There are quite a few presentations related to the educational research. The announcement and abstracts of the projects are below (all republished from the program/website).
We are please to announce that registrations are now being accepted for the 'Merri at USQ - The USQ SII Projects Road Show' at the following: http://www.linkaffiliates.net.au/roadshow2007. The Road Show will be held in the following cities in August 2007: Melbourne, 16 August Sydney, 17 August Perth, 20 August Adelaide, 22 August 2007.

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This entry is an eclectic summary of the key trends in scientific research methodologies, technologies and practices followed by some reflections about the state of the art and future of the educational research. Essentially this blog is a mashup of ideas from three unrelated in a structured world readings and some outsider's thoughts that link them in a complex world.

Sources:

  • Alex Szalay: Science in an Exponential World. Paper presented at eResearch Australasia Conference, Brisbane, 26-29 June 2007. URL
  • OECD: Evidence in Education: Linking Research and Policy, 12/06/2007. OECD, CERI. URL
  • Uri Wilensky and Michael J. Jacobson: Complex Systems in Education: Scientific and Educational Importance and Implications for the Learning Sciences. Journal of the Learning Sciences. 2006, Vol. 15, No. 1, Pages 11-34. URL

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links.gif

TechTalks: e-Research Gathers Speed, 17 July 2007. More...

Colloquium in HE: Trying to De-mystify Public Policy for Higher Education, 24 July 2007. More...

Research Fest: Communities and Change, 22-26 October 2007. More...


Note. There is no any link between these talks (except this blog). But links emerge in dialogues, if we listen…

Several potentially useful e-research tools for social and educational researchers were presented at e-research Australasia 2007 conference. Most (all) of them have not been finished yet. Nevertheless, feel free to go ahead and to see the demos or explore prototypes. Here some annotated links.

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A collection of links and short summaries of who is doing what in e-research at Go8 universities. The list is not comprehensive, representative and inheritably not objective. Nevertheless, might be useful.

Last updated: 25-07-2007

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This week many politicians have been immersed in the debates about a broadband access in Australia. While the focus of this dispute has been on how many Australians (98% vs. 99%) will (should) have an access to a high-speed broadband network, it was a good motive to read and think about education and how educational research could help to embrace all this “fast stuff”. Thus, this entry is about innovation, education, educational research and e-research.

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civitas.gif
Note: Picture from the Civil Society Institute website (about the logo).
E-research is about e-rights, e-responsibilities, e-access, e-intellectual property, e-privacy, e-etc. I can’t add much to the Jane’s Anderson’s and Kathy’s Bowrey’s paper, annotated this week in AustralianPolicyOnline, but felt that it would be inappropriate to leave it unnoticed in this blog. By providing a solid review of the literature about indigenous cultural property, open access to knowledge and the gap between them in the modern society, this paper also provides a good source for thinking about other legal and moral aspects of e-research in education, social sciences and humanities.

Below is the extract from the paper and URL. Together some more links related to this topic.

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Today I found several articles about three Australian middleware development projects (ARROW, DART and ARCHER) funded under the DEST Research Information Infrastructure Initiative (RII).

Treloar A, & Groenewegen, D. (2007). ARROW, DART and ARCHER: A Quiver Full of Research Repository and Related Projects, Ariadne, 51. URL

Paterson, M., Lindsay, D., Monotti, A., Chin, A. (2007). DART: a new missile in Australia’s e-research strategy, Online Information Review, 31 (2), 16-134. DOI 10.1108/14684520710747185. URL

Are they relevant to social research?

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This entry is about other aspects of the same, mentioned in the earlier blog, Australian e-Research Strategy and Implementation Framework. This time is about:

Research culture

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Recently (May 2007) the Australian Government accepted An Australian e-Research Strategy and Implementation Framework. This document outlines a general vision and strategic plan for the enhancement of e-research capacities in Australia over forthcoming five-year period. I think this document deserves some interest of academic research community too, particularly of those who work in education. This is my first thought about it.

Education for e-research

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What is e-research?

Generally speaking "e-research" is research practices enabled by the combination of:
• shared computational power;
• distributed access to large databases; and
• virtual environments for collaborative research work.
Here, you can find the Australian DEST definition of e-research.

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