Mediated collaborative research?
Several countries are currently in the process of planning and implementing advanced network infrastructures in the scientific and education communities. One of the objectives of this action is to facilitate collaborative research. In this paper, we closely examine the feasibility of this objective, by: 1) noting the claims of the proponents of the high speed academic networks 2) circumscribing the notion of collaborative research, 3) examining the current role of communication technologies in collaborative research, 4) identifying the possible obstacles to attaining this objective, and 5) presenting and analyzing a case study of a distributed research group and the implementation of a desktop videoconference system. The results of the case study tend to reinforce and extend previous observations concerning potential implementation difficulties of network technologies. Furthermore, the study suggests that the social dynamics in some collaborative research groups may complicate the introduction of new network technologies and limit their use.