ITSC Featured in UAH Research & Alumni News

Sandra Harper

Ray Garner / UAH
Title: Social media not just for teens: How social media and UAH are changing collaborative research

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are all connected by the Gulf Coast, and as such, they all have a stake in the area's economic and environmental viability.

So it makes sense that multidisciplinary researchers in these states are pooling together their knowledge, experience, data, and technologies as part of the National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)-sponsored Northern Gulf Coastal Hazards Collaboratory (NG CHC).

But their goal, to advance the science and engineering of coastal hazards, wouldn't be possible without the help of UAHuntsville's Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC), which provides the NG CHC with a collaboration portal designed to encourage collaborative "open science" by providing scientists with the capability to easily organize, discover, and share data, tools and information.

Of course, collaboration among researchers isn't a new concept. But what is new, says Sandra Harper, a research scientist at the ITSC, is the speed and efficiency with which modern technology, in the form of social media, is making that collaboration possible. "In the past, we had more in-person meetings, so there was more travel involved, or we would do teleconferences and pass documents back and forth via email," she says. "But now, with the two-way communication that Web 2.0 provides, researchers can communicate and have data available in real-time using our collaborative science portals. Each user can put information out there that's available to other users, whether it is data, documents, or media like videos or images." And those other users, in turn, can comment or post their own information, adding to the collaborative environment.

Read the entire article here