Shneiderman writes about future network collaboration research in Science magazine

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Shneiderman's SocialAction analysis tool shows collaboration between pairs of U.S. senators. The Democratic senators (blue) are at the left and Republican senators (red) at the right; Sanders and Lieberman (magenta) are independents. Shneiderman argues Science 2.0 must develop tools like this to analyze human relationships and collaborations. View a larger version of this diagram at HCIL's SocialAction web page.

ISR-affiliated Professor Ben Shneiderman (CS) has written an opinion piece in Science magazine on the need for new tools to understand collaborative, socio-technical systems—and created one of his own.

Shneiderman is the founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, an ISR-affiliated lab. At HCIL he has created a new social network analysis tool, SocialAction, with Ph.D. student Adam Perer.

Shneiderman argues that "the growth of the World Wide Web and the spread of cell phones and WiFi continues to reorder whole disciplines and industries. Entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and researchers have recognized that increased collaboration through these socio-technical systems offers compelling opportunities for business, education, national security, and beyond. It is time for researchers in science to take network collaboration to the next phase and reap the potential intellectual and societal payoffs."

He writes that "successful scientific collaboratories among genomic researchers, engineering innovations through open-source software, and community-based participation in cultural heritage projects are all early indicators of the transformative nature of collaboration."

"Understanding these collaboration-centered socio-technical systems could accelerate their adoption and raise their benefits. However, researchers will need to develop new ways of studying these complex interactions. Science 1.0 will continue to be important, but new kinds of science, which I call Science 2.0, are needed to study the integrated interdisciplinary problems at the heart of socio-technical systems. Science 2.0 will be especially important to meet the design challenges in secure voting, global environmental protection, energy sustainability, and international development among many others."

Shneiderman's Science commentary has been picked up by various other news organizations. | Read the complete article at the Science web site. | Learn about the SocialAction tool at the HCIL web site. |

Published March 12, 2008