Wesley Shrum

Wesley Shrum is Professor of Sociology at Louisiana State University and longtime Secretary of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

  • Structures of Scientific Collaboration

    Structures of Scientific Collaboration

    Wesley Shrum, Joel Genuth, and Ivan Chompalov

    How technology and bureaucracy shape collaborative scientific research projects: an empirical study of multiorganizational collaboration in the physical sciences.

    Collaboration among organizations is rapidly becoming common in scientific research as globalization and new communication technologies make it possible for researchers from different locations and institutions to work together on common projects. These scientific and technological collaborations are part of a general trend toward more fluid, flexible, and temporary organizational arrangements, but they have received very limited scholarly attention. Structures of Scientific Collaboration is the first study to examine multi-organizational collaboration systematically, drawing on a database of 53 collaborations documented for the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. By integrating quantitative sociological analyses with detailed case histories, Shrum, Genuth, and Chompalov pioneer a new and truly interdisciplinary method for the study of science and technology. Scientists undertake multi-organizational collaborations because individual institutions often lack sufficient resources—including the latest technology—to achieve a given research objective. The authors find that collaborative research depends on both technology and bureaucracy; scientists claim to abhor bureaucracy, but most collaborations use it constructively to achieve their goals. The book analyzes the structural elements of collaboration (among them formation, size and duration, organization, technological practices, and participant experiences) and the relationships among them. The authors find that trust, though viewed as positive, is not necessarily associated with successful projects; indeed, the formal structures of bureaucracy reduce the need for high levels of trust—and make possible the independence so valued by participating scientists.

    • Hardcover $8.75 £6.99


  • World Wide Research

    World Wide Research

    Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities

    William H. Dutton and Paul W. Jeffreys

    Experts examine ways in which the use of increasingly powerful and versatile digital information and communication technologies are transforming research activities across all disciplines.

    Advances in information and communication technology are transforming the way scholarly research is conducted across all disciplines. The use of increasingly powerful and versatile computer-based and networked systems promises to change research activity as profoundly as the mobile phone, the Internet, and email have changed everyday life. This book offers a comprehensive and accessible view of the use of these new approaches—called “e-Research”—and their ethical, legal, and institutional implications. The contributors, leading scholars from a range of disciplines, focus on how e-Research is reshaping not only how research is done but also, and more important, its outcomes. By anchoring their discussion in specific examples and case studies, they identify and analyze a promising set of practical developments and results associated with e-Research innovations. The contributors, who include Geoffrey Bowker, Christine Borgman, Paul Edwards, Tim Berners-Lee, and Hal Abelson, explain why and how e-Research activity can reconfigure access to networks of information, expertise, and experience, changing what researchers observe, with whom they collaborate, how they share information, what methods they use to report their findings, and what knowledge is required to do this. They discuss both the means of e-Research (new research-centered computational networks) and its purpose (to improve the quality of world-wide research).

    • Hardcover $14.75 £12.95
    • Paperback $8.75 £6.99