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--> C O L L A B O R A T O R I E S Improving Research Capabilities in Chemical and Biomedical Sciences Proceedings of a Multi-site Electronic Workshop North Carolina Board of Science and Technology and National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.
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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The workshop proceedings was produced as part of a project approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. These proceedings have been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 9709909) and the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology. Any opinions, findings or conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06340-X Limited copies are available from: Office of International Affairs, Division for International Organizations and Academy Cooperation, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 (CIOP@NAS.EDU). Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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--> Acknowledgments We are grateful to the members of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology and two National Research Council committees—the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), and the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)—for their oversight of this activity. Their guidance led to the successful event involving more than 100 scientific researchers, university administrators, federal and state representatives, and information technologists participating from five different sites. The multisite "electronic" workshop was made possible by using the North Carolina statewide network linking the university sites. The Washington, D.C., site was connected by ISDN and made available courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Much appreciation is extended to the facilitators and local organizers at each of the sites: Marye Anne Fox and Charles G. Moreland from North Carolina State University, Charles E. Putman and Norman L. Christensen from Duke University, William H. Glaze from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Johannes M. Boehme from Wake Forest University, and John C. Toole of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from the CDC site in Washington, D.C. They were instrumental in identifying the appropriate participants and stimulating the discussions. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill served as the host site for the workshop, and its staff provided much support. Although there are many individuals to thank for bringing about this workshop, a special note of appreciation goes to Tamae Maeda Wong of the National Research Council and Cary Nourie of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, who first explored the idea of a multisite electronic workshop. From the State of North Carolina, the assistance of Margie Boccieri enabled us to coordinate the local organizers at multiple sites. Other staff members who should be fully recognized for their hard work in arranging the meeting and preparing the workshop proceedings are Claire Twigg of Georgetown University; Trudy Guffey of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology; Sandra Hackman, editorial consultant; and Mark Keenan of the National Research Council. We also thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of these pro-
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--> ceedings: Melvyn Ciment, William E. Gordon, Judith C. Hempel, James W. Poirot, and Ernest J. Wilson, III. This activity was made possible with financial support from the National Science Foundation and the Governor's Office of the State of North Carolina. JANE SMITH PATTERSON SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA WILLIAM A. WULF PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
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--> Contents Summary vii Presentations William A. Wulf, National Academy of Engineering Improving Research Capabilities Through Collaboratories James D. Myers, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 1 Tools for Collaboration Mary Anne Scott, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing 5 The DOE 2000 Project Ralph L. Scott, U.S. Department of Energy, and Technology Information 10 Disseminating Energy Information S. Yona Ettinger, U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation 16 International Collaboration John W. Jost, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry 18 From Collaboration to Collaboratory Jane Smith Patterson, North Carolina Board of Science and Technology 21 Advancing Research in North Carolina 23 Appendix A Workshop Agenda 25 Appendix B Biographies of Panelists and Facilitators 27
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--> Appendix C North Carolina Board of Science and Technology 33 Appendix D Committees of the National Research Council 35 Appendix E Workshop Participants 38
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--> Summary The United States is today the undisputed world leader in science and technology. Yet the ability of the nation to remain at the forefront scientifically, and thereby benefit in economic growth, national security, environmental quality, health, education, and other areas, requires that we place increased emphasis on pursuing science and technology in an international context. To capitalize on discoveries made elsewhere and facilities located elsewhere, we must have world-class researchers who maintain constant communication and work frequently in collaboration with the best scientists around the world. Bruce Alberts President National Academy of Sciences March 25, 1998 Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives The importance of international cooperation in science and technology is increasingly receiving attention as states such as North Carolina actively engage their scientific communities to improve their overall R&D capabilities and promote economic growth. Supporting research collaborations that utilize advanced computer and network technologies is one means by which to leverage scarce funds and promote scientific development. Collaboratories provide an excellent mechanism for harnessing these technologies to advance scientific frontiers. Collaboratory—a term coined by Dr. William A. Wulf, now president of the National Academy of Engineering—combines the words "collaboration" and "laboratory." In a white paper exploring the idea almost a decade ago, Dr. Wulf defined a collaboratory as "a center without walls, in which users can perform their research without regard to geographical location—interacting with colleagues, accessing instrumentation, sharing data and computational resources, and accessing information in digital libraries.'' This vision is today becoming reality but faces challenges—both in creating the needed technologies and in convincing the sci-
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--> entific community to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities they offer. In 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) published a far-reaching report on the possibilities for harnessing sophisticated communication technologies to enhance scientific collaboration. This report1 specifically examined the potential of collaboratories for sparking cutting-edge work in oceanography, space physics, and molecular biology. As the NRC report noted, researchers were then starting to use advanced computer-based tools for research, and the development of such tools was advancing steadily. Yet the nation needed to make a conceptual leap to adopt a new paradigm for conducting science that enabled researchers in any field to easily access people, data, instruments, and results. The challenge in gaining acceptance for such networked inquiry was twofold: encouraging researchers in discrete fields, each with its own culture, to develop an interdisciplinary mind-set and work habit; and integrating the technologies needed to make high-end collaboration possible. The NRC report recommended establishing pilot projects to foster progress toward these ends. In the six ensuing years, several pioneering collaboratories have begun to yield valuable experience and results. These efforts are being driven by two complementary trends: the growing complexity of research required to address the scientific, technological, and medical needs of the next century, and the expansion of scientific competence throughout the world. However, most of the research community has yet to learn about and fully use sophisticated networking technologies such as collaboratories that can allow researchers to ask new questions and approach research in entirely new ways. To bridge this gap, on August 12, 1998, the National Research Council, joined by the State of North Carolina, convened a multisite electronic workshop to explore progress in and barriers to making collaboratories a central feature of research in chemical and biomedical sciences. The workshop brought together the "builders" of the communication technologies and potential "users" in the chemical and biomedical research communities. Participants included academic researchers in physical and biological sciences, university administrators, technologists, and state and federal policymakers. To demonstrate the potential of electronic technologies, this event was conducted as a "virtual workshop," relying on real-time video to allow ''attendees" in several locations to participate. The North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, led by Ms. Jane Smith Patterson, Senior Advisor to the Governor for Science and Technology, pioneered many advanced technology programs in support of research such as the state information highway, and served 1 National Research Council. 1993. National Collaboratories: Applying Information Technology for Scientific Research, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
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--> as a co-organizer and sponsor. Thus, the workshop linked participants from four North Carolina locations: North Carolina State University, Wake Forest University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Washington, D.C. Workshop speakers were asked to provide an overview defining the benefits of collaboratories and inform the general participants on the status of pilot programs and applications. They were also asked to articulate issues that arise when research and educational activities are conducted using collaboratories. The role of the facilitators at each site was to stimulate discussions and explore questions on the potential impact of collaboratories in basic research fields. Jane Smith Patterson and William Wulf served as moderators, participating from the main site of the workshop, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As workshop speakers pointed out, until recently collaborative research has required face-to-face contact, and the process of sharing results and responding to new discoveries has required extended amounts of time. But more bandwidth and higher computing speeds now enable researchers based in many different locations to share vast amounts of complex data and sophisticated models and to jointly analyze results. Audio and video conferencing, shared computer displays, online notebooks to which multiple researchers contribute, and remotely controlled laboratory instruments are only a few of the tools being developed to serve these needs. Dr. Wulf, in his presentation, articulated his original vision for collaboratories and conveyed excitement for a system that will revolutionize the scientific process. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been a primary funder of these technologies, as well as pilot projects, through its DOE 2000 initiative, and the workshop included several representatives from these efforts. Dr. James D. Myers of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory explained the various kinds of interdisciplinary collaborations and biochemical research tools that his institution is spearheading under the DOE program. Dr. Mary Anne Scott of DOE detailed several interdisciplinary projects and advanced collaboratory technologies being funded by her agency. And Dr. Ralph L. Scott described a collaboratory effort by DOE to make a myriad of information available online in multiple formats—in effect, a new kind of online library—to both researchers and the public. To emphasize their international potential, Dr. S. Yona Ettinger of the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation described international collaboratories devoted to chemical research. He also highlighted collaboratories' potential for training medical professionals in remote areas and enabling small countries to participate in state-of-the-art research. Dr. John W. Jost of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which sets standards for chemical research worldwide, discussed the need for compatibility even among mundane communication tools to make the standard-setting process more effective. Ms. Patterson spoke to North Carolina's potential for furthering the collaboratory concept and promoting academic research and industrial development. During the event, attendees from various locations engaged in discussions fa-
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--> cilitated by Dr. Marye Anne Fox from North Carolina State University, Dr. Charles E. Putman and Dr. Norman L. Christensen from Duke University, Dr. William H. Glaze from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Johannes M. Boehme from Wake Forest University, and Dr. John C. Toole of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from the CDC site in Washington, D.C. A primary concern that emerged from these exchanges was the need to support collaboratory technologies, as well as interdisciplinary research, where benefits are the greatest. Dr. Wulf cited the Space Physics and Aeronomy Research Collaboratory 2 as an example of combining data and knowledge from different groups to yield much greater results than if the data were analyzed separately. Dr. Christensen, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University also pointed out that collaboratories are vehicles for bridging differences among the disciplines and that doing so "is incredibly important if we are to focus on compelling, large-scale problems." He saw a "particularly important set of opportunities" for electronically mediated research collaborations on North Carolina's coastal environment because ''universities, shoreline research institutions, and offshore vessels must keep in close contact." Collaboratories allow a "delicate balance" to exist that acknowledges the differences among disciplines while working toward a common research goal. To date, the use of interactive technology has varied greatly from discipline to discipline and across fields and institutions. Dr. Myers pointed out that the norms for sharing data, as well as for publication and peer review, varied significantly. In an article by Wulf et al.,3 sociological issues that enable collaboratories in various fields were discussed. "Collaborative technologies will have to provide the autonomy, trust, sense of place, and attention to ritual that foster creativity among participants." The payoff is achieving research capabilities that greatly exceed those available in any single laboratory. Researchers in several disciplines expressed interest in exploring how their research field can utilize collaboratories. Discussions of the key issues necessary to enable collaboratories focused on institutional infrastructure and funding support. Participants noted that the collaboratory concept focuses on spanning disciplines whereas most science funding is awarded through individual disciplines. Common infrastructure and collaboratory tool development that could enhance all fields require funding support from various sources. Ms. Patterson cited North Carolina's experience in building backbone technology for the statewide information highway and encouraged others to factor in technology costs as an essential aid for teaching and research. She suggested that faculty members insist on access to sophisticated communications technology as a condition of work, much as indus- 2 Formerly known as the Upper Atmospheric Research Collaboratory. 3 Collaboratories: Doing Science On The Internet, Richard T. Kouzes, James D. Myers, William A. Wulf, IEEE Computer, Volume 29, Number 8, August 1996.
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--> tries require such infrastructure before locating in a given region. Dr. Robert Annechiarico, Director of Research Computing in the Department of Public Health Science at Wake Forest University, underscored the need to put the collaboratory concept high on the agenda of funding agencies. Only when the principal investigators demand it will universities and agencies be able to provide the necessary tools and funds. Although advances in electronic communication were considered important, concern for the "up-front" costs, particularly for smaller and remote sites, was raised. The technology costs could pose a barrier to smaller institutions—yet these are the very institutions that could most benefit from electronically mediated research. Dr. Melvin Johnson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at North Carolina A&T State University inquired about minimum system requirements for participation and was informed that currently it can be a simple Internet connection through a modem, as long as video is not required. Dr. Alan Blatecky of MCNC emphasized the value of next-generation tools to provide better high-speed connections for all institutions regardless of size, thus "leveling the playing field." Further discussion of international participation with developing countries also raised similar concerns. To allow seamless interfaces among people, scientific instruments, computer tools, and networks, Dr. Boehme at Wake Forest University stressed the importance of technology standards for interactive tools. Dr. Myers cited the Department of Energy's efforts as well as those of private industry in working with scientists, software developers, and instrumentation companies to establish protocols for the communications interface. He also noted that the Collaborative Electronic Notebook System Association involving chemical and pharmaceutical companies is exploring the issue of standards while also addressing electronic issues such as document authenticity. On this topic, agencies such as the Patent Office and the Food and Drug Administration are working to determine how electronic notebooks can substitute for paper notebooks in submissions to regulatory agencies. Participants proved highly interested in using collaboratories to enhance education and promote graduate and undergraduate research. Dr. Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor at North Carolina State University, initiated discussions on the impact of collaboratories on graduate training in interdisciplinary research. Noting the example of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Research Collaboratory, Dr. Myers pointed out that graduate students from several disciplines now interact in this cutting-edge collaboratory, which involves remote accessing of radiotelescopes in Greenland and sharing information and analysis from various sites around the world. Thus, students are given opportunities that have traditionally been reserved for principal investigators. Dr. Glaze also pointed out that collaboratories will play a significant role in undergraduate education, serving as "virtual study abroad." Such study will prove "not quite the same as being there but nevertheless give students flexibility to try new things." Participants also expressed keen interest in using collaboratories to facilitate
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--> joint research with scientists and engineers globally. Dr. Bettie Sue Masters, a biochemist from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, iterated the value of technology links for international cooperation, citing the new opportunities for interaction through, for example, Internet symposia and online journals. Dr. Brian Hoffman of Northwestern University pointed out that international collaboration in biophysics and biochemistry is already widespread, where the best researchers working on a particular protein will interact from different laboratories in different countries. As research collaborations become increasingly dependent on advanced technologies, concern was raised for the scientists in developing countries that lack the basic infrastructure. Dr. Irving Lerch, Director of International Affairs for the American Physical Society, acknowledged that electronically enhanced physics collaborations in Asia, Europe, and the United States have proved productive, but that tapping into the intellectual resources of Africa and Latin America has been challenging because of the limited telecommunication networks. High-tech tools thus threaten to leave research in less developed regions "in the dust." Debating potential solutions to this problem, participants agreed that a partnership between the commercial sector and the government is required to provide the needed communication infrastructure. Dr. Wulf further added that satellite communications, over land-based systems, are likely to change the issues dramatically in a fairly short period of time. Ms. Patterson agreed, saying that although researchers and institutions will inevitably have to pay to use the telecommunications network, sophisticated infrastructure, including wireless, is already being deployed around the world, including Africa. The primary issue that remains is therefore the cost of connectivity and adequate bandwidth. Different forms of collaboratories now support various research areas. Yet information on these collaboratories and the underlying technology tools enabling research collaborations are not widely disseminated. Dr. Wulf stressed a need "to just publicize these activities . . . as a first step." Dr. Greg Forest of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dr. Alan Blatecky of MCNC noted the value of a clearinghouse to serve as a repository for shareware and to evaluate technologies for establishing standards. Dr. Marye Anne Fox of North Carolina State University saw a role for institutions such as the National Academies to lead such efforts involving the scientific community at large. Too often today, attendees noted, existing collaboratories and their results go unnoticed by the larger scientific community and the public. Finally, participants acknowledged the potential twofold payoff of collaboratories: they both enhance the productivity of research and stimulate economic development. In North Carolina, the driving force for developing a statewide technology infrastructure was to support research and facilitate technology transfer. Dr. Psalmonds commented that increased productivity from collaboratories offers an exciting opportunity for stimulating economic development through university-
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--> industry partnerships. By encouraging the flow of promising research from the public to the private sector, collaboratories can help incubate commercially useful techniques. Dr. John Simon of Duke University commented that by "interlacing researchers, collaboratories can produce more bang for the buck." Overall, the enthusiastic participation of site leaders and attendees yielded thoughtful ideas on near-term needs, long-term goals, and concrete steps for fulfilling the enormous potential of collaboratories. Dr. Glaze summed up the general tenor of the meeting by identifying two immediate needs for making collaboratories a central model for scientific research: "pushing the envelope" of the technology that makes collaboratories possible and further exploring the sociological aspects of education and interdisciplinary research collaborations. Dr. Wulf agreed that it is "impossible to predict precisely" how collaboratories can best be employed and that prototypes involving real users are critical first steps in exploring their potential. Conferees encouraged institutions and researchers worldwide to pursue the exciting opportunities offered by electronically mediated collaboration in opening new doors to scientific discovery.
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