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Digital Support for Collaboration

In this article in Digital Support for Collaboration Clemens introduces you to knowledge management platforms for cooperation.
Brainstorming over paper and laptop
© This work by Clemens Blümel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Yet, in what ways do these different tools support collaboration?

  • First, they support research by what could be called the collaborative ordering of knowledge: Reference management systems like Zotero and others allow for crowdtagging of knowledge. Researchers can collaborate in tagging and ordering items. During the pandemic, for instance, the growth of Zotero Libraries showed attempts of the crowd to deal with very diverse knowledge.
  • Second, digital tools allow for collective organization and division of labour: knowledge management tools support research crowds by organizing different contributions of a larger project. Moreover, the process of developing research instruments, changes in data collection and in the direction of research during a project can be made transparent. Currently, however, these opportunities are less often used.
  • Third, digital tools support the development of scientific infrastructures: Version Control Systems like GitHub provide digital infrastructures for sharing, monitoring and even improvement of data and code, they support researchers in building scientific infrastructures.
  • Fourth, they enable and support feedback: Academic social network sites, question and answer forums like Stackoverflow provide researchers with opportunities to get feedback, to interact on project results and discuss preliminary findings. They are, however, mostly used for enhancing the visibility of published research. Interactive functions, such as formulating questions and answers are rather seldom used, compared to uploading publications.
© This work by Clemens Blümel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
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