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Collaborative Environments for Research, Teaching and Learning: Background

Tools and networks enabling collaboration for scientific research and digital humanities scholarship.

What is a collaboratory?

“A collaboratory is a network-based facility and organizational entity that spans distance, supports rich and recurring human interaction oriented to a common research area, fosters contact between researchers who are both known and unknown to each other, and provides access to data sources, artifacts and tools required to accomplish research tasks.” (Olson, Zimmerman, and Bos, 2008) emphasis added


Olson, Gary M., Ann Zimmerman, & Nathan Bos. (Eds.) (2008). Scientific collaboration on the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Science of Collaboratories includes bibliography and a database of collaboratory projects. See also Bos, et al. (2007). From Shared Databases to Communities of Practice: A Taxonomy of Collaboratories. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12, 652-672.

Lee, E. Sally et. al. (2010) Incorporating collaboratory concepts into informatics in support of translational interdisciplinary biomedical research. Retrieved from

van der Vaart, Lilian. (2010) Collaboratories: Connecting Researchers. How to facilitate choice, design and uptake of online research collaborations. Surf Foundation. Retrieved from

Related concept: CI

A case study of online collaboration


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Emily Lin
Director, Strategic Initiatives, Archives & Special Collections
UC Merced Library