Distributed scientific group collaboration across biocontainment barriers

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW, 2012, pp. 1247 - 1256
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This paper reports the findings from a field study of distributed scientific collaboration within a national animal health laboratory. Collaboration in this setting is challenged by the need for biosecurity - there are physical containment barriers between scientists and work groups and movement of people and other physical objects across the barriers requires extensive security procedures. The aim of the field study was to understand how the scientists communicate across the barriers, particularly how they share information and collaborate on its analysis. The findings reveal that the collaboration issues relate not just to the challenges caused by the containment barriers but also to the need for collaboration support between the scientists and their work groups irrespective of the barriers. The paper explains how these findings informed the design of the collaboration platform being installed and how more generic requirements of supporting collaboration over distance were configured and extended to meet the specific requirements of a very particular local setting. © 2012 ACM.
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