Regulating like a clock, each year provokes a ritual at research universities that is feared by certain assistant professors on the tenure path. Welcome to the tenure review process, a rite of passage for university professors seeking to achieve the “Holy Grail” of tenure and tenure that comes with their employment contracts at their universities. Originally intended as a means of guaranteeing academic freedom, both academics and non-academics endlessly debate the advantages and disadvantages of the tenure system.
Whichever view you have of tenure, research is the critical factor in the success of the tenure process in most schools. In life science and engineering, funded research plays a crucial role in the decision to occupy, while in liberal arts, business, and law, more emphasis is placed on research published in peer-reviewed journal journals. Most universities that aspire to the highest levels of the classification system attach great importance to research: all kinds of research, whether funded or published.
A recent BusinessWeek interview with Drew Faust, President of Harvard University (Businessweek, 10/12/07) and a follow-up public letter from a group of eleven representatives from public universities testify to the strong emotions evoked by research in universities and competition. that exists between universities. The research mission and competition for research funding and awards are etched in the DNA of budding high-level public and private research universities, as expressed by their university administrators. In 2006, universities spent more than $ 47 billion on research and development (NSF, 2007), while competition for the best journals was more intense than ever.
However, in this increasingly competitive research culture and climate, there is a stark contrast between the high ideals of research and the conduct of research itself. In the age of the Internet, Web 2.0, social media, blogging, and instant messaging, university research has remained essentially the same for the past century. Despite the progress and computerization of the tools used and the increasingly sophisticated methodologies, there has not been comparable progress in the organization, scope and range of research collaborations.
By scanning a typical teacher’s resume, one would see that their collaborations are largely local. In other words, most teachers write articles and propose proposals with other teachers they already know. These include colleagues and graduate students in the hallway, as well as former colleagues or professors from their own doctoral program. Only in exceptional cases, the list of contributors expands to include other researchers who may have met at conferences.
So if there is a researcher on the other side of the world with surprisingly similar research interests, unfortunately there is little hope that the research professor will actually work with him. Even if the first researcher knows the other researcher through the bibliographies, there is no easy “social” way to connect, unless you send an email directly or call. Of course, few teachers initiate contact in this way. Maybe they think the other investigator may not want to work with them, or maybe they need more information about the investigator and getting it would be too tedious. Therefore, most of the time, it is simply easier to go with the “known” numbers of colleagues available in what might be called “convenient collaborations.”
The obvious questions, then, are: can the Web 2.0 toolkit accomplish for university research what it has done for business and social media, and what tools could facilitate this transformation? Millions of previously improbable business and social relationships and opportunities have been created through tools such as Facebook and MySpace (social relationships), LinkedIn and Ryze (business networks). Therefore, the question of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies is relevant not only for universities seeking to increase their arsenals in research on the “arms race”.
What would a web 2.0 portal look like? What tools can be offered? What changes would be required in the mindset and practices of today’s university researchers? Are there any emerging tools in this category that can predict the future of university research in the near future?
Web 2.0 portals for university researchers must include elements of the social media domain. These include forums, professional research profiles and various means of communication, such as instant messaging. Blogs would also be a natural addition to the research environment, where researchers could share their experiences and professional ideas. Enterprise networking tools can also make a significant contribution to research collaboration portals through their approaches to managing contacts, referrals and communication. In addition, although their knowledge taxonomies for business classification are somewhat rudimentary, these concepts can be useful in organizing much deeper knowledge taxonomies essential to research communities. Perhaps then, instead of collaborations of convenience, researchers could move to global “opportunity collaborations”.
While still in their infancy, Web 2.0 search portals are sure to become important tools in the endless “arms race” that characterizes research universities. They offer the benefits of collaborative global research: wider and more appropriate global collaborations, better information for researchers, improved content for research papers and grants, and an increased volume of publications and research proposals. subsidies. In other words, Web 2.0 tools could lead to a complete transformation of research practices and, consequently, to greater productivity gains.
Modern Web 2.0 search portals like this allow researchers to collaborate on the site itself, manage real documents, and network with colleagues and other potential researchers. It allows powerful web searches and classification of results in personal taxonomies.
The portal uses comprehensive knowledge rankings to rank users and their research interests and skills, resulting in the ability to find ideal research partners accurately. Use forums, blogs, expert articles, sophisticated project management and the latest research news. In addition, it integrates specialized research tools that academics use most frequently, such as survey creation / implementation tools, citation tools, bibliography management, and many others.
These new web portals seem to point the way for university research. As traditional as the culture of university research is, it seems inevitable that universities will finally adopt the radical change brought about by the Web 2.0 paradigm. The challenge for deans, vice presidents, and research vice presidents is how to change the existing research culture and quickly adopt these tools for the significant achievements they can bring to university research. The world is flat and the new synergies of global collaborations cannot be ignored. Early adopters will certainly have the potential to advance their search rankings by investing in Web 2.0 tool kits for their researchers. Either way, the influence of Web 2.0 on university research will be exciting to see for years to come.