As mentioned in the objectives section, the potentials of the target community summarized in tables 1 and 2 (extracted from a non exhaustive SoII’s survey on relevant Communities of information studies, classified according to their field of research, SoII 2007) concerning over 300 organizations in more than 40 countries, is a major pillar to achieve the pursed impacts (regardless the support programme to be applied, among those being mentioned).
The geographical and academic divide of the target community is a hinder to tackle important scientific and societal problems of our time (as for example in the frontiers between physical and biological sciences, between biological and cognitive sciences, and between cognitive and social sciences). Thus the proposed Domus BITae e-Infrastructure, bringing together the target community, could contribute to increase the effectiveness of European Research.
Table 1: Number of communities of Information Studies classified in types (accounted by SoII)
As shown in table 2, while in a global dimension the amount of communities is significant for erecting an appropriate stance to tackle the problems posed by the emerging Science of Information, in national levels (with the exception of the USA) the amount of initiatives are not enough to bring about the critical mass for confronting the regarding problems. Therefore the proposed infrastructure empowers the European communities (about the half) to drive the emergence of a global virtual community in information studies.
Table 2: Number of communities of Information Studies per countries (accounted by SoII)
Much of the work wasted in the scientific research regarding information science concerns the redundancy of discussions, the dispersion of background, thought and proposals, the misunderstanding about used terms or scientific models, the relevancy of problems or phenomena, etc. Thus we believe the proposed common tools within Domus BITae infrastructure –by means of giving the possibility to share results, foundations, approaches, terminology disambiguation, etc.– might be a key factor to achieve the pursued effectiveness in information research as well as to foster effective synergies with education and industry. Concerning the appropriateness of procedures & best practices, the expertise of the Scientific Committee will steer as well the architecture of the system as the conditions to participate in the different Domus BITae areas (Working Groups, Repository, Meta-Glossary).
By bringing in the managing structure the design councils concerning the issues of knowledge oriented design (UB), security, accessibility and software quality (INT) the consortium pursues to achieve the increase of quality and attractiveness of the proposed e-infrastructure.
With the goal of achieving the mentioned impacts the following steps are planned:
1. The design council is constituted from the beginning to participate in the whole system development in order to achieve a qualitative, useful, trustful and friendly system.
2. The consortium will address the needs of the community by making: a) a survey on research needs; b) an open call to take part in the advice of design and development.
3. After pre-design, a summoning of representatives of developers and target community will agree the specifications of the system to be developed (see fig.5). In this summoning, new members can integrate the scientific advisory board.
4. After core system launching (see PERT diagram, activity 70) an open call will be convened to gather new communities into the system.
5. Some mandatory member-approvals are envisaged within development (see fig.2, Management structure) in order to meet the engagement of the target community.
6. The dissemination of the system as well as the call for participation will be committed to the science advisors as representatives of the target community.
The European dimension for reaching the pursued impacts is essential for:
1. Overcoming the mentioned geographic and academic divide;
2. Overcoming the limitation of national approaches, specially in those countries where few relevant communities are present and only concerning a limited set of scientific domains –not covering the scope of information science– (table 2, above);
3. The quantity and quality of European communities in information studies might support the emerging of a global community in Information Science with European leadership;
4. The openness of an European approach might contribute to the emerging of scientific research in regions which are less organised in terms of academic networking (ESFRI 2008, p.83).
Regarding how Domus BITae initiative would account other research activities in the field, it may be pointed out its strategic relation with Foundations of Information Science (FIS), Science of Information Institute (SoII), BITrum, Unified Theory of Information (UTI), and International Centre of Information Ethics (ICIE), all of them directly involved in the development of the project. As shown in PERT diagram, FIS and SoII will be the two first communities to be dumped into Domus BITae in order to launch the core system, aiming at achieving a catalytic effect because of their centred position in the international community of information studies.
― FIS initiative (http://fis.icts.sbg.ac.at/) plays a significant role in the theoretical framing of information science. The systematic incorporation of its archives into Domus BITae glossary is envisaged as a means to increase its scientific value and usability.
― The role of SoII (http://www.soii.info/) is planned as a cornerstone in Domus BITae strategy because of its integrative scope concerning all information studies. Therefore the task given to SoII is to convene calls for membership and disseminate the system within research community and industry.
― The goal of BITrum (http://sites.google.com/site/ebitrum/) as conceptual disambiguation and theoretical clarification in information studies is conceived within Domus BITae strategy as a means to achieve research effectiveness and fruitfulness of the community as a whole. On the other hand, the coordination of BITrum glossary (Díaz et al. 2010) within Domus BITae meta-glossary is aimed at distilling community discussion and best glossary contents to improve its usability and attractiveness, constituting itself a product for Domus BITae dissemination.
― The direct involvement of UTI research group (http://www.uti.at/) may also be an important factor in achieving the impact goals of Domus BITae, specially regarding the following activities of the group: 1) the essay of unified frames for understanding all information phenomena –that may be conceived as a goal for the whole community; 2) its interest for establishing a global sustainable information society –bringing therefore into stage the social relevancy and interest–; 3) the publishing of the peer-reviewed journal tripleC – Cognition, Communication, Co-operation (http://www.triple-c.at/) –that may be accounted as a dissemination means of Domus BITae–.
― The ICIE role in Domus BITae concerns its position as relevant international actor in the discussion and research on information ethics. Its International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE, http://www.i-r-i-e.net/) may also be accounted as a peer-reviewed dissemination means of Domus BITae in the Information Ethics field.
For the achievement of all mentioned impacts it is assumed:
1. The interest of the target community for the proposed collaborative system. Although it is indeed the major external factor of the proposed initiative, a significant engagement of communities has been beforehand acknowledged. Moreover the roadmap to match target community needs as well as the engagement of the community since early stages is conceived as means to guarantee the mentioned interest.
2. A real interest of the target community for sharing results and approaches. Although we account with the engagement of a critical mass of communities in Information Studies, there is a risk that some researchers would try to take advantage of the information sharing without correspondingly contributing to the system. In order to minimize this risk: a) a membership commitment of rights and obligations should be agreed considering: content sharing and use, copyrights issues, communication policy, accessibility vs privacy; b) the access to some Domus BITae areas should be limited to user properly authenticated and regulated by a good practice policy.
3. No other parallel system with a similar focus is going to be developed at the same time. Although no other similar proposal is known within the community of information studies, the need to get a common stage to foster a information science has been felt in different levels, therefore, other initiatives (perhaps in USA or China) could arise reducing potential impacts. To minimize this risk Domus BITae: a) should have resources enough to enable the inclusion of the potential target community matching its necessities; b) should develop a membership policy and practise aimed at achieving the general interest (i.e. the scientific and societal fruitfulness) over any other particular interest, as well as fostering a democratic and open participation. c) develop a good policy of dissemination showing both the strengths and the inclusiveness of the system.