NASA Astrobiology Institute: March 2012

Please join the NAI in welcoming its newest International Partner, the University of Sao Paulo (USP) Research Unit in Astrobiology (NAP-Astrobio), under the direction of Jorge Ernesto Horvath and Douglas Galante. NAP-Astrobio is a virtual organization reporting to the Research Provost of the University of Sao Paulo. Its purpose is to provide a structure for virtual scientific collaboration as well as the organization of meetings, seminars, and schools. It currently includes Sao Paulo state researchers as well as colleagues distributed countrywide and abroad.

The NAI and NAP-Astrobio envision that this partnership will focus initially on the following areas: establishing high-fidelity communication links (e.g., videoconference capability) between US and Brazilian researchers to facilitate communication and collaboration; identifying Brazilian research field sites of mutual interest to both Brazilian and US astrobiology researchers; the exchange of research scientists and students in support of collaborative research; and cooperation in training programs for students and early career investigators.

Please join in welcoming NASA Astrobiology Program Postdoctoral Fellow Arsev Aydinoglu to the NAI Central team! He is a social scientist studying NAI's current collaborative practices. He will provide insight and recommendations for their evolution and improvement, particularly with respect to remote communication, data sharing and analysis across distance, collaborative problem solving, interdisciplinary science, and institutional identity.

Arsev received his Ph.D. in Information Science from the College of Communication and Information, at the University of Tennessee, where he investigated the emergence of DataONE, a multidisciplinary, multiinstitutional, and multinational distributed organization to develop a cyberinfrastructure to deposit, share, and preserve earth sciences data.

Arsev's plan for his time at the NAI involves two phases, in phase 1 he will assess the current collaborative practices regarding (i) communication behaviors; (ii) data and information behaviors; (iii) collaborative work and interdisciplinary interaction; and (iv) institutional identity. In the second phase he plans to integrate and interpret the data to provide insights and recommendations to NAI management in order to improve efficient communication, data sharing, collaborative analysis and problem solving; to foster interdisciplinary science and collaborative work; and to strengthen institutional identity.