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Scientific communication under transformation: identifying needs and experimenting technologies in HIV/AIDS research groups

Grant number: 06/03742-4
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: September 01, 2008 - August 31, 2010
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Public Health
Principal researcher:Ivan França Junior
Grantee:Ivan França Junior
Home Institution: Faculdade de Saúde Pública (FSP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Researchers can benefit from new technologies that affect scientific communication so as to enhance their productivity and improve the quality of their work. We aim to explore the interfaces between members of two HIV/AIDS and three information science research groups (USP & FIOCRUZ) to constitute intelligent research collectives. More specifically, we aim to: a) Identify AIDS researchers’ needs and difficulties in accessing and using information; b) Test three services and products (1. Selective Information Dissemination (SID); 2. Software to handle bibliographic references and manage competences and; 3. Software for groupware to respond to the project members demands and to overcome the barriers to the full access and use of information by those). In a qualitative study, 8 professors, 7 researchers and 11 students involved with HIV/AIDS research groups will be interviewed individually and in group. The interviews seek to build profiles of the researches and their bibliographic production, and to identify how they update themselves scientifically on their field as well as all the obstacles they face. The necessary and available competences for scientific work will be identified (formulation and execution of projects and results dissemination). Besides the statements, there will be simulations of bibliographic search (e.g., AIDS epidemiology in Brazil, social impact of the HIV epidemic in Brazil) to identify how researchers actually seek for information. As a result, it will be possible to identify the databases consulted, strategies and syntaxes constructed and the electronic management of the abstracts found. Having the abstracts list, the researches will be invited to find the full-text version of the articles. The librarians will ethnographically take notes of the paths, difficulties and attempts to remove the barriers during the searches. Then, the SID and other programs for bibliography management will be tested. Another tool (SEE-K) to be tested refers to the competences management through the construction of trees of knowledge (TK). A TK will map the groups scientific writing, identifying abilities and gaps. Other programs will be tested in AIDS research groups to amplify the techno scientific cooperation in scientific work. These programs will be tested in the following activities: 1) virtual meetings between researchers at USP (Department of Mother-Child Health and the Library of the School of Public Health; Department of Social / Work Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine) and FIOCRUZ; 2) virtual meetings with oral presentations of students’ scientific work, followed by a discussion in a peer-review format; 3) Synchronous preparation and presentation of slides, using the software PowerPoint/Microsoft in virtual meetings. Services and programs will be assessed in regard to their capacity to provide computer supported cooperative work, as well as their effectiveness and efficiency. (AU)