A Study of the Relationship of Communication Technology Configurations in Virtual Research Environments and Effectiveness of Collaborative Research
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Virtual Research Environments (VRE) are electronic meeting places for interaction among scientists created by combining software tools and computer networking. Virtual teams are enjoying increased importance in the conduct of scientific research because of the rising cost of traditional scientific scholarly communication, the growing importance of shared academic research by geographically dispersed scientific teams, and changes in the corporate research structures. New facilities provided by the Internet technology enhanced this situation. Currently, our knowledge about VRE-based scientific communication and what makes it effective is relatively immature in terms of understanding technology (interface, architecture, and software evaluation), system management (software systems, visualization, scalability), knowledge bases, expert systems, and coordination. Moreover, we do not have a comprehensive classification scheme for virtual research environments primarily from a technological viewpoint. This study provided an analysis of VRE from a technological standpoint and developed a conceptual model that identified factors facilitating collaboration effectiveness with a primary focus on technology. VRE portals were at the core of the investigation as they are the entry points for VRE related information and resource access. First, the study developed a methodological framework for characterizing VREs, applied that framework to examine and classify existing VRE systems, and developed a new classification. Then, the study established a relationship between the technological profiles of various types of VREs and their productivity. Study results show that the technological arrangements of the VRE neither depend upon scientific discipline nor the existing functional typology. The study did not identify a significant presence of communication and collaboration technologies within the VRE systems. However, results indicated that there were a correlation between communication and collaboration technologies and VRE effectiveness.
Ahmed, Iftekhar (2009). A Study of the Relationship of Communication Technology Configurations in Virtual Research Environments and Effectiveness of Collaborative Research. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from