the Chronicle of Higher Education Website
full letter as sent to the Chronicle
This letter is in response to the article in the CHE dated December 10, 2004, entitled, "Does E-Science Work?" by Jeffrey R. Young.
E-Science does work and can succeed, provided that the research team members not only trust one another explicitly (as noted in the article) but are also completely attuned to the research project. Indeed, why even submit a joint proposal if there is not the dedication and commitment to the research project nor trust and respect among the investigators?
In particular, E-Science allows underrepresented groups of females and minorities in science and engineering to reach outside their institutions to build teams that may not otherwise be possible. I have been privileged to have NSF support with Co-PIs, Professor June Dong from SUNY Oswego (a former doctoral student of mine) and Professor Patricia L. Mokhtarian of UC Davis, whose project has yielded not only dozens of scientific refereed articles but also a book, "Supernetworks: Decision-Making for the Information Age," Nagurney and Dong, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2002. To further the results of our research, we have created a Virtual Center for Supernetworks: http://supernet.som.umass.edu
To build trust and forge entirely new teams, perhaps the National Science Foundation should take some of the risks that the Rockefeller Foundation has been doing in regards to its Bellagio Center program. Last March, I built a team of three females from three different countries who had never even met face to face but who had been aware of and had been citing one another's research. In an intense two week period we were able to synthesize results in projected dynamical systems and evolutionary variational inequalities for dynamic networks. The intense interactions there and those that followed (exclusively through email) have yieldes three research articles (one already accepted for publication). Now the challenge remains, how to obtain funding so that the professor based in Sicily, Professor Patrizia Daniele, the one based in Canada, Professor Monica-Gabriela Cojocaru, and myself, can find funding to cross our national boarders and to meet again in an intense face-to-face collaboration!
John F. Smith Memorial Professor
Virtual Center for Supernetworks
Isenberg School of Management
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003