eResearch: what’s the buzz?

From my previous post on eResearch “Reading: “The Role of LTs in supporting e-research (eResearch)” I have continued to read around the topic and find that the JISC’s strategic theme is one we all (Learning Technologists) could get involved in. Yes?

So, why aren’t we then? Is it that academic staff don’t know we could help, or that they don’t want our help or don’t think we have anything to offer? I think it is even more basic than this … I think it is all down to the time that is available.

I know that my working day is stuffed full of emails, training, workshops, fault-finding, meetings, reporting, design, liaising, etc. I also know that academics have a full diary that often does not have the ability, even in time dedicated to their research, to sit and explain what they are doing.

So, what can a Learning Technologist (LT) / Instructional Designer (ID) offer eResearch? from the JISC strategic page on what is eResearch (or e-Research as they use):

“It’s concerned with technologies that support all the processes involved in research including (but not limited to) creating and sustaining research collaborations and discovering, analysing, processing, publishing, storing and sharing research data and information. Typical technologies in this domain include: Virtual Research Environments, Grid computing, visualisation services, and text and data mining services.”

Great, just the kind of activities that us LTs can help with, in fact are already participating in but not necessarily under the name of ‘eResearch’. From my previous post I quoted that:

“It is suggested that many learning technologists could extend their roles, transferring their knowledge to include supporting e-research. A more inclusive model of the learning technologist’s role in academia could help address the potential polarisation of the profession into researchers and practitioners.”

If I could get involved in this kind of activity, this could go towards my work and evidence for CMALT membership.

Are there any LTs out there active in eResearch that are willing to talk about how they are doing it (not necessarily what they are doing if the subject is sensitive for publications, PhDs, etc)? Please get in contact, it would be good to get the conversation going.