The collaboratory concept entails a new way of conducting scientific research and implies a fresh way of interacting with technology . This new problem-solving environment relies on computer-mediated rather than in-person interaction; the speed and breadth of communication within the collaboratory and with the outside world is of a different order; and the everchanging collaboratory boundaries are conceptual rather than physical.
To assess the effectiveness of the proposed collaboratory, the BioCoRE evaluation team focuses on aspects that are germane to the structural biology community. Participants' feedback and collaboratory interactions while designing, implementing, and using BioCoRE tools and infrastructure constitute the bulk of the raw data.
The evaluation efforts center around two broad goals:
- Study the development process of the BioCoRE environment from inception on. Ensuring that the BioCoRE development team is thoroughly and rapidly informed of, and constantly considers the users' and developers' perceptions, preferences and satisfaction maximizes the likelihood of the eventual endorsement and adoption of this novel paradigm by the structural biology community. BioCoRE developers use this information to facilitate the iterative rapid-prototyping approach to system design.
- Assess the effectiveness of the BioCoRE solution, its impact on the nature of 'doing science' and the promise of 'doing science better'. Desirable outcomes include intensive research participation and involvement of BioCoRE members, the emergence of an integrated entity of geographically distant researchers and technologies, a deeper and wider scope of participant interactions and scientific discourse, and increased productivity.