17 November 2015 2 Comments
This is the first half of a talk that I gave recently at the University of Melbourne Researcher@Library event. Thanks to all involved for inviting me, and making me feel so welcome. It was great!
When we work within organisations, the boundaries of our organisation can become limiting horizons.
More and more, I am finding that it is easier to do things with the whole world than it is to do them within my organisation.
Sometimes, it is easier to get my colleagues’ attention on Twitter than it is face-to-face (even though they work on the same campus or even in the same building). The conversation can be richer online, too, because they often have more time to talk on the train going home than they do between meetings. And multiple voices can join in with different points of view.
Organisations want to engage with the outside world, but are bound up in their own identities. I’ve talked before about how I’ve failed to get my Twitter handle on my business card. RMIT recognises the Research Whisperer as part of my job, but only lets me put ‘official’ channels on my card.
At a larger level, national funding systems can fall into this trap, too. Even though they recognise that international research teams produce stronger research, they can sometimes find it hard to fund international collaboration. There is much encouragement to publish with international colleagues. Funding agencies love it, but they often find it difficult to fund the work that leads to those publications. I suspect that they don’t want to give ‘tax-payer dollars’ (nation-based funds) to people from other nations, even though that will probably create better research outcomes.