Christian Pentzold

Science should, arguably, always be a collaborative endeavour. In principle, the peers of the “Republic of Science” constantly exchange their insights so to falsify results and foster scientific progress. Although the reality of scholarship gnaws at this idealistic vision because political, economic, and social contingencies hinder unrestricted collaboration, we nevertheless see a broad range of forms where researchers within and across institutions, disciplines, and countries work together. Given the cost and complexity of organizing such extensive enterprises, digitally networked information and communication technologies (ICTs) were welcomed as enabler for collaboratories or e-science. In our research, we investigate the German academic community. We study if and how projects became increasingly collaborative and examine to what extent and with what implications the media affordances of collaboration have changed over the last thirty years. Our research draws on archival data from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and expert interviews. It aims to extend our understanding of the use of ICTs for fostering the ways, knowledge and insights are generated, processed, and distributed in scientific collaboration.

In this project, I worked together with Claudia Müller-Birn from the Freie Universität Berlin.