A World of Data and Scientific Collaboration
John Bardeen, the only two-time Nobel Prize winner in Physics, once said, “… science is a collaborative effort. The combined results of several people working together is often much more effective than could be that of an individual scientist working alone.” He would know. His inventions revolutionized electronics and ushered in the Information Age.
Arsev Umur Aydinoglu earned his doctoral degree from the College of Communication and Information in 2011 and has been hard at work studying collaborative practices for NASA’s Astrobiology Institute (NAI) since he completed his UT studies. He is assessing NAI’s current collaborative practices from four perspectives: communication behaviors, data and information behaviors, collaborative work and interdisciplinary interaction, and institutional identity. He is integrating and interpreting the data to provide insights and recommendations to NAI leadership, to assist them in improving efficient communication, data sharing, collaborative analysis, and problem solving among their scientists. He is helping them foster interdisciplinary science and collaborative work to strengthen institutional identity.
Embedded with the NAI Central for ethnographic observations, Aydinoglu has conducted 150 interviews with scientists at all levels in 18 different universities and labs around the US. He has administered 10 surveys and analyzed 1,200 NAI-funded publications for his research.
Aydinoglu’s dissertation, “Emergence of a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary scientific collaboration: DataONE Case Study,” utilized multiple methodologies to investigate the role of information and communication behaviors. His dissertation work earned him the 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the College. This work in part is what caught the attention of NAI.
Aydinoglu began his studies at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, earning a Bachelor’s equivalent in economics. He received his Master’s in Public Relations from Gazi University, also in Ankara. He worked as the Public Information Assistant for the World Bank Turkey Office for a few years, where he was responsible for publications and website information.
So what’s next for Aydinoglu? An exciting opportunity is coming his way in July. He has been awarded a two-year grant to assess the research data management in environmental sciences in Turkey. The program is a co-funding scheme and supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and the Marie Curie Action Cofund of the 7th Framework Program (FP7) of the European Commission. He will be stationed at the Department of Science and Technology Studies Program in the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.
The proposed study is going to conduct a multilevel assessment (behavioral, policy, and technological) of Turkish environmental scientists’ research data management practices and develop a roadmap for Turkey, so that data generated by researchers can be integrated into international repositories to be stored, shared, reused, and reanalyzed. The multidisciplinary project will employ multiple methods of research design. Data will be generated through a combination of surveys, semi-structured interviews conducted with environmental scientists, science and technology policy researchers, and library and information science scholars from uni- versities, research institutes, industry, and government. Furthermore, a comparison for data policy of granting institutions in Turkey, selected European countries, and the U.S. will be conducted. The results will be synthesized to prepare a roadmap for data-intensive science in Turkey in environmental sciences. A pilot training opportunity will be provided as an elective course in environmental informatics.
Making scientific information collaboration more effective and finding new solutions to old communication problems can have far-reaching, positive results for society and the environment. Dr. Arsev Aydinoglu is one of the new faces of information science and one UT SIS is proud to call its own.