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National Cancer Institute

Scientific software production: incentives and collaboration

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Scientific software production: incentives and collaboration. Oral presentation at Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Hangzhou, China. Mar 2011.

Software plays an increasingly critical role in science, including data analysis, simulations, and managing workflows. Unlike other technologies supporting science, software can be copied and distributed at essentially no cost, potentially opening the door to unprecedented levels of sharing and collaborative innovation. Yet we do not have a clear picture of how software development for science fits into the day-to-day practice of science, or how well the methods and incentives of its production facilitate realization of this potential. We report the results of a multiple-case study of software development in three fields: high energy physics, structural biology, and microbiology. In each case, we identify a typical publication, and use qualitative methods to explore the production of the software used in the science represented by the publication. We identify several different production systems, characterized primarily by differences in incentive structures. We identify ways in which incentives are matched and mismatched with the needs of the science fields, especially with respect to collaboration.

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Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


Group and organization interfaces, computer-supported cooperative work, human factors, management

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Lauren Faulkner on 10/8/2014 2:12:36 PM.

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