From Shared Databases to Communities of Practice: A Taxonomy of Collaboratories
Promoting affiliation between scientists is relatively easy, but creating larger organizational structures is much more difficult, due to traditions of scientific independence, difficulties of sharing implicit knowledge, and formal organizational barriers. The Science of Collaboratories (SOC) project conducted a broad five-year review to take stock of the diverse ecosystem of projects that fit our definition of a collaboratory and to distill lessons learned in the process. This article describes one of the main products of that review, a seven-category taxonomy of collaboratory types. The types are: Distributed Research Centers, Shared Instruments, Community Data Systems, Open Community Contribution Systems, Virtual Communities of Practice, Virtual Learning Communities, and Community Infrastructure Projects. Each of the types is defined and illustrated with one example, and key technical and organizational issues are identified.