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Collaboration in Metagenomics: Sequence Databases and the

Summary: Collaboration in Metagenomics:
Sequence Databases and the
Organization of Scientific Work
Matthew J. Bietz & Charlotte P. Lee
University of Washington
{mbietz, cplee}@u.washington.edu
Abstract. In this paper we conduct an ethnographic study of work to explore the
interaction between scientific collaboration and computing technologies in the emerging
science of metagenomics. In particular, we explore how databases serve to organize
scientific collaboration. We find databases existing across scientific communities where
scientists have different practices and priorities. We suggest while these databases
appear to be boundary objects, they are better understood as boundary negotiating
artifacts. Due to rapid scientific and technical innovation the tools, practices, and scientific
questions change over the course of merely a few years resulting in challenges for
The use of databases is critical for metagenomic science. While databases are
often intended to span the boundaries between communities of practice (Wenger,
1998), they actually serve more as sites for the negotiation of scientific methods,
research questions, and worldviews. Due to rapid scientific and technical


Source: Anderson, Richard - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences