A Process Method Approach to Study the Development of Virtual Research Environments: A Theoretical Framework

  • Iftekhar AhmedEmail author
  • Marshall Scott Poole
Living reference work entry


In recent years, there has been a wave of advanced cyberinfrastructure development to support distributed collaborative science. These cyberinfrastructures or “Virtual Research Environments” (VRE) are electronic spaces for inquiry and meeting places for interaction among scientists and scholars created by combining software tools and computer networking. VREs have been hailed as having the potential to enhance the quality of science, to speed up the conduct of scientific research, and to foster global scientific communities around key research and learning areas. Multiple approaches have been applied to investigate technological, organizational, managerial, and human factors that influence VREs for good or ill, and these have yielded insights, but there is not yet a “formula” for an effective VRE and therefore all VREs involve experimentation and trial-and-error learning. This chapter suggests a framework for understanding the processes by which VREs are developed over time and how these processes contribute to their effectiveness or lack thereof.


Process study Virtual organization Virtual research environments Virtual learning environments Scientific collaboration Organizational development Longitudinal analysis 



This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Virtual Organization as Sociotechnical System (VOSS) Grant Award #1308176.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication StudiesUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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