Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 155–163 | Cite as

Special Theme: Project Management in E-Science: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Dimitrina SpencerEmail author
  • Ann Zimmerman
  • David Abramson


In this introduction to the special theme: Project Management in e-Science: Challenges and Opportunities, we argue that the role of project management and different forms of leadership and facilitation can influence significantly the nature of cooperation and its outcomes and deserves further research attention. The quality of social interactions such as communication, cooperation, and coordination, have emerged as key factors in developing and deploying e-science infrastructures and applications supporting large-scale and distributed collaborative scientific research. If software is seen to embody the relational web within which it evolves, and if the processes of software design, development and deployment are seen as ongoing transformations of this dynamic web of relationships between technology, people and environment, the role of managers becomes crucial: it is their responsibility to balance and facilitate the dynamics of these relationships.

Key words

e-science cyberinfrastructure collaboratories e-infrastructures usability interdisciplinary collaboration agile management agile development team-building project management leadership facilitation of e-science teams software development 


  1. Anderson, D. J. (2003). Agile management for software development. Making it work in the enterprise. Lauderdale: J. Ross Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Atkins, D. E. (2003). Revolutionizing science and engineering through cyberinfrastructure: Report of the national science foundation blue-ribbon advisory panel on cyberinfrastructure. Washington: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  3. Beckels, B. (2005). Re-factoring grid computing for usability. Proceedings of the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting, Nottingham, UK, September 19 to September 22, 2005.
  4. Boreham, N., & Morgan, C. (2004). A sociocultural analysis of organizational learning. Oxford Review of Education, 30(3), 307–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bos, N., Zimmerman, A., Olson, J., Yew, J., Yerkie, J., Dahl, E., et al. (2007). From shared databases to communities of practice: A taxonomy of collaboratories. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2), article 16. Retrieved 5 May 2011 from,
  6. Chin, G. (2008). Agile project management: How to succeed in the face of changing project requirements. New York: AMACOM.Google Scholar
  7. Chin, J., & Coveney, P. V. (2004). Towards tractable toolkits for the Grid: A plea for lightweight, usable middleware. UK e-Science Technical Report. No UKeS-2004-01. Retrieved on 10 May 2011 from:
  8. Cummings, J., & Kiesler, S. (2005). Collaborative research across disciplinary and organisational boundaries. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 703–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cummings, J. N., & Kiesler, S. (2007). Coordination costs and project outcomes in multiuniversity collaborations. Research Policy, 36(10), 733–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darch, P., Turilli, M., Jirotka, M., & de la Flor, G. (2010a). Communication and Collaboration in e-Science Projects, Technical Report, Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University.Google Scholar
  11. Darch, P., Carusi, A., Lloyd, S., Jirotka, M., de la Flor, G., Schroeder, R. et al. (2010b). Shared Understandings in e-Science Projects, Technical Report, Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University.Google Scholar
  12. Dittrich, Y., Randall, D. W., & Singer, J. (2009). Software engineering as cooperative work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 18(5–6), 393–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edwards, P. N., Bowker, G. C., Jackson, S. J., & Williams, R. (2009). Introduction: an agenda for infrastructure studies. Special Issue on e-Infrastructure. The Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(5), 364–374.Google Scholar
  14. Finholt, T. (2003). Collaboratories as a new form of Scientific Organisation. Economics of Innovation and New Technologies, 12(1), 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Foster, I., & Kesselman, C. (Eds.). (2004). The Grid: Blueprint for a new computing infrastructure. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann.Google Scholar
  16. Gibson, C., & Manuel, J. (2003). Building trust: Effective multicultural communication processes in virtual teams. In C. Gibson & S. Cohen (eds): Virtual teams that work: Creating conditions for virtual team effectiveness. San Francisco: Wiley, pp. 59–86.Google Scholar
  17. Goodpasture, J. C. (2010). Project management the agile way: Making it work in the enterprise. Lauderdale: J Ross Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Grudin, J. (1988). Why CSCW applications fail: Problems in the design and evaluation of organizational interfaces. In I. Grief & L. Suchman (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1988 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Portland, Oregon, USA, September 26 to September 28, 1988 New York, NY: ACM Press, pp. 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hartswood, M., Jirotka, M., Procter, R., Slack, R., Voss, A., & Lloyd, S. (2005). Working IT out in e-Science: experiences of requirements capture in a HealthGrid project. Studies of Health, Technology and Information, 112, 198–209.Google Scholar
  20. Hesse, B. W., Sproull, L. S., Kiesler, S. B., & Walsh, J. P. (1993). Returns to science: Computer networks in oceanography. Communications of the ACM, 36(8), 90–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hey, T., & Trefethen, A. (2003). e-Science and its implications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 361, 1809–1825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hinds, P., & Weisband, S. (2003). Knowledge sharing and shared understanding in virtual teams. In C. Gibson & S. Cohen (eds): Virtual teams that work: Creating conditions for virtual team effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 21–36.Google Scholar
  23. Hine, C. (2006). New infrastructures for knowledge production: Understanding e-science. Hershey: Information Science Pub.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jankowski, N. W. (2007). Exploring e-Science: an introduction. Special Theme: E-science, in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2), 549–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jeffrey, P. (2003). Smoothing the waters: Observations on the process of cross-disciplinary research collaboration. Social Studies of Science, 33, 539–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jirotka, M., Procter, R., Rodden, T., & Bowker, G. C. (eds.) (2006). Special issue: Collaboration in e-Research. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 15(4), 251–255.Google Scholar
  27. Lawrence, K. A. (2006). Walking the tightrope: The balancing acts of a large e-Science project. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 15(4), 385–411.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  28. Lee, C. P., Dourish, P., & Mark, G. (2009). The human infrastructure of cyberinfrastructure. Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2009, Banff, Alberta, Canada, November 4 to November 8. New York, NY: ACM Press, pp. 483–492.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, C. P., Ribes, D., Bietz, M. J., Karasti, H., & Jirotka, M. (eds.) (2010). Special issue: Scientific collaboration through cyberinfrastructure. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 19(3–4).Google Scholar
  30. Lloyd, S., & Simpson, A. (2005). Project management in multi-disciplinary collaborative research. Proceedings of IEEE International Professional Communications Conference, Limerick, Ireland, July 10 to July 13, 2005, IEEE, pp. 602–611.Google Scholar
  31. Mark, G. (2002). Conventions and commitments in distributed CSCW groups. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 11(3), 349–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. NSF. (2005). NSF’s. Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery, NSF Cyberinfrastructure Council, September 26th, 2005, Ver.4.0, Accessed 5 May 2011.
  33. Olson, G., & Olson, J. (2000). Distance matters. Human Computer Interaction, 15, 139–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Olson, J., Olson, G., & Zimmerman, A. (Eds.). (2006). The collaboratories handbook. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Olson, G., Bos, N., & Zimmerman, A. (Eds.). (2008). Scientific collaboration on the internet. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Orlikowski, W. (1992). Learning from Notes: Organizational issues in groupware implementation, Proceedings of the 1992 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Toronto, Canada, October 31 to November 4, 1992. New York, NY: ACM Press, pp. 362–369.Google Scholar
  37. Procter, R., Rouncefield, M., Balka, E., & Berg, M. (2006). Special issue on CSCW and dependable healthcare systems. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 15(5–6).Google Scholar
  38. Puri, C. P. (2009). Agile management. Feature driven development. New Delhi: Global India Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Ribes, D., & Finholt, T. (2008). Representing community: Knowing users in the face of changing constituencies, Proceedings of the 2008 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, San Diego, USA, November 8 to November 12, 2008. New York, NY: ACM Press, pp. 107–116.Google Scholar
  40. Ribes, D., & Lee, C. P. (2010). Sociotechnical studies of cyberinfrastructure and e-Research: Current themes and future trajectories. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 19(3–4), 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Spencer, D. Managing for usability. Challenges and opportunities for e-Science project management, Conference Overview, 10–11 April 2008, Oxford eResearch Centre, University of Oxford. Accessed 5 May 2011.
  42. Spencer, D., Turilli, M., de la Flor, G., Jirotka, M., Lloyd, S., & Schroeder, R. (2010). Access and use of the UK e-Infrastructure: OMII-UK and NGS case studies. Technical Report, Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University. Accessed 5 May 2011.
  43. Ure, J., Rakebrandt, F., Lloyd, S., & Khanban, A. A. (2008). Usability, the Tri-Wizard challenge: Recurring scenarious in the design of a healthgrid portal. Krakow: HSI Proceedings.Google Scholar
  44. Voss, A., Hartswood, M., Procter, R., Slack, R., Rouncefield, M., & Buscher, M. (2009). Configuring user-designer relations: Interdisciplinary perspectives. London: Springer.Google Scholar
  45. Warr, A., de la Flor, G., Jirotka, M., Lloyd, S., Schroeder, R., & Rahman, M. (2007a). Embedding e-Science applications: Challenges from the eDiaMoND case study, Technical Report, Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University.Google Scholar
  46. Warr, A., Lloyd, S., Jirotka, M., de la Flor, G., Schroeder, R., & Rahman, M. (2007b). Project management in e-Science, Technical Report, Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University.Google Scholar
  47. Weisband, S. (2002). Maintaining awareness in distributed team collaboration: Implications for leadership and performance. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler (eds): Distributed work. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 331–344.Google Scholar
  48. Williams, P. (2002). The competent collaboration manager. Public Administration, 80(1), 103–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zimmerman, A. (2007). A socio-technical framework for cyberinfrastructure design. In Proceedings of e-Social Science Conference, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, October 7 to October 9, 2007, p. 10.Google Scholar
  50. Zimmerman, A., & Finholt, T. A. (2007). Growing an infrastructure: The role of gateway organizations in cultivating new communities of users. Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP’07). New York: ACM Press, pp. 239–248.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitrina Spencer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ann Zimmerman
    • 2
  • David Abramson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.School of InformationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Information TechnologyMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations