Biological and biomedical research is increasingly conducted in large, interdisciplinary collaborations to address problems with significant societal impact, such as reducing antibiotic resistance, identifying disease sub-types, and identifying genes that control for drought tolerance in plants. Many of these projects are data driven and involve the collection and analysis of biological data at a large-scale. As a result, life-science projects, which are frequently diverse, large and geographically dispersed, have created unique challenges for collaboration and training. We examine the communication and collaboration challenges in multidisciplinary research through an interview study with 20 life-science researchers. Our results show that both the inclusion of multiple disciplines and differences in work culture influence collaboration in life science. Using these results, we discuss opportunities and implications for designing solutions to better support collaborative tasks and workflows of life scientists. In particular, we show that life science research is increasingly conducted in large, multi-institutional collaborations, and these large groups rely on “mutual respect” and collaboration. However, we found that the interdisciplinary nature of these projects cause technical language barriers and differences in methodology affect trust. We use these findings to guide our recommendations for technology to support life science. We also present recommendations for life science research training programs and note the necessity for incorporating training in project management, multiple language, and discipline culture.

Sarah Morrison-Smith, Christina Boucher, Aleksandra Sarcevic, Noelle Noyes, Catherine O’Brien, Nazaret Cuadros, and Jaime Ruiz. 2022. Challenges in large-scale bioinformatics projects. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 9, 1: 125

  title={Challenges in large-scale bioinformatics projects},
  author={Morrison-Smith, Sarah and Boucher, Christina and Sarcevic, Aleksandra and Noyes, Noelle and O’Brien, Catherine and Cuadros, Nazaret and Ruiz, Jaime},
  journal={Humanities and Social Sciences Communications},