Journalists should keep an eye on others with the Long View
May 25th, 2005 by JTJ

Once in a great while, a scholarly event occurs that, at least in hindsight, was a milestone in the sociology of knowledge.  In modern times we have seen the 1975 Asilomar Conference on safety and regulation of recombinant DNA technologies, for example.


past March 15-16, 2005, a National Science Foundation-sponsored
conference was held outside of Washington, D.C. that, 20 years hence,
might prove to be a similar milestone.  While
apparently there were no journalists participating, it was a meeting
with great portent for us, especially those journalists who consider
their best work to be a solid social science endeavor.


The conference was called: “SBE/CISE Workshop on Cyberinfrastructure for the Social Sciences.”  Glossary time: “SBE” means “Social, Behavioral, and Economics.”  CISE” means “Computer & Information Science & Engineering.”  Cyberinfrastructure?  Well, you can figure that one out.


The workshop concept:

is the coordinated aggregate of software, hardware and other
technologies, as well as human expertise, required to support current
and future discoveries in science and engineering. The challenge of
Cyberinfrastructure is to integrate relevant and often disparate
resources to provide a useful, usable, and enabling framework for
research and discovery characterized by broad access and “end-to-end”


most Cyberinfrastructure efforts are focused on the development and
integration of Cyberinfrastructure technologies and resources. Fewer
efforts have focused on the immense repercussions of the social
dynamics and organizational, policy, management and administration
decisions inherent in developing and deploying Cyberinfrastructure.
Such choices, and the social, cultural, and behavioral impacts of how
we develop, manage, and evolve Cyberinfrastructure will be critical to
its success.


Recommendations and Challenges


·        Summary
Recommendation 1: Develop and deploy enabling data-oriented
Cyberinfrastructure targeted to the social and behavioral sciences.

·        Summary
Recommendation 2: Develop and deploy targeted toolkits, virtual, and
computational environments for facilitating social and behavioral
science research.

·        Summary
Recommendation 3: Instrument and design technologies to gather and
provide key data for social scientists. Conversely, utilize human and
computer interaction data to instrument and design Cyberinfrastructure

·        Summary
Recommendation 4: Ensure that confidentiality, privacy, and other
social and policy considerations are included as part of the
architecture of Cyberinfrastructure.

·        Summary
Recommendation 5: Involve social and behavioral scientists in the
design of organizational frameworks, incentive structures,
collaborative environments, decision-making protocols, and other social
aspects of Cyberinfrastructure.

·        Summary
Recommendation 6: Develop adequate funding models for
Cyberinfrastructure that will enable social and behavioral science

·        Summary
Recommendation 7: Develop explicit venues for funding
inter-disciplinary SBE and CISE research on the social impacts of

·        Summary
Recommendation 8: Develop the community for Cyberinfrastructure and
Social Sciences through targeted funding programs, meetings, workshops,
conferences, and other activities.”

through these recommendations, replacing word like “social and
behavioral science” with “journalism,” and we would have a good mission
statement for what we must do in the next 20 years.  I encourage you to read the well-written final report of Cyberinfrastructure meeting.  Yes, parts will seem esoteric to the reporters being pushed to turn out four news stories and a Sunday feature every day.  But we hope that at least some editors with the vision thing and some journalism educators will read it and try to climb aboard the Cyberinfrastructure train.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa