Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interdisciplinary day

I'm going on nearly 11 hours of non-stop interdisciplinarity. Today I've worked on three different group projects with three different groups!

One of the projects I worked on today involved a conference call with people from the interdisciplinary conference I went to in October. We're trying to write a synthesis paper. It's pretty far outside my comfort zone/realm of professional experience, but I find the exercise interesting. I'm not sure yet how I fit into the project, and there's a possibility that ultimately I won't be an author. But, it's about a timely and widely relevant topic that is at least worth thinking about in much more depth than I have to date.

One of the things I've enjoyed so far about the project is suggesting ways to make the collaborative process easier. I set up a wiki for the group, which my interdisciplinary cohort at UBC has found to be very helpful in the writing and editing process. We're also using a shared Zotero library. I think we should be using Mendeley, but so far I think I'm the only person who has heard of it so we're using Zotero because most people are already somewhat familiar and comforatable with it. I really hope that everyone will use the wiki because I think it's a great way to keep up on what other people in the group are writing and thinking without having to ask them for their most recent writing. I'm a little worried that people will hesitate to put their first drafts on the wiki, especially after FSP wrote about this phenomenon.

Good group dynamics seem to be a critical component of a successful long-distance writing project. So far, it seems to be going well. There are a few leaders spearheading the project, one of whom will almost certainly be first author, and we're all amicably working out who will do what. The thing that I worry about most is that the project won't be grounded enough in concrete applications of the concepts and ideas we're writing about. We'll see.

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