Political Science and the Internet

June 1, 2016 | Author: Tiberiu Catalin Tuinea | Category: Types, Research
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Max Kaase about the importance of Internet in the social and political sciences....


Political Science and the Internet Author(s): Max Kaase Reviewed work(s): Source: International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique, Vol. 21, No. 3, CyberPolitics in International Relations. CyberPolitique et relations internationales (Jul., 2000), pp. 265-282 Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1601236 . Accessed: 02/03/2013 17:52 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

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InternationalPoliticalScienceReview(2000), Vol 21, No. 3, 265-282

Political Science and the Internet MAXKAASE

ABSTRACT. The Gutenberg invention of printing has been a major precondition for the development of present-day science and the science system. With this historical analogue as a starting point, the article addresses the present and future impact of the emergence of electronic communication networks as epitomized by the Internet and the World Wide Web on the future organization and operation of the science system, including political science and the effects that can already be found in the science system. The analysis finds that the impact of electronic communication is already strongly felt in the "hard"sciences, but much less so in the humanities and social sciences, although its potential there is also large. Electronic communication is a field where the social sciences should engage much more in research than is presently done. Keywords:Electronicpublishing * Informationtechnology * Internet * Social sciencesystem

The Gutenberg Galaxy at the Crossroads The agent of changewill be the Internet,both literallyand as a model or metaphor.The Internetis interestingnot only as a massiveand pervasiveglobal network but also as an example of something that has evolved with no apparent

designerin charge,keepingits shapeverymuch like the formationof a flowof ducks.Nobodyis the boss, and all the pieces are so farscalingadmirably (Negroponte,1995:181). Electronicpublicationsare likelyto become an essentialcharacteristicof the work environmentof scholars.Those who adaptwillflourish;thosewho resistare likely to be left behind in the dust (acob, 1996:208). There is little disagreement in the literature that the multimedia emergence thriving on microchips, electronic networking, and on the digitalization of all 0192-5121(2000/07) 21:3,265-282;013085? 2000 InternationalPoliticalScienceAssociation SAGE Publications(London,ThousandOaks,CAand New Delhi)

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kinds of messages-be they audio, visual, audiovisual or print-because of its farreaching, penetrating effects constitutes a true cultural revolution. Biuhl (1995: 51) is mindful of the fact that the largest library before printing-located in Alexandria-contained the wisdom of the world on half a million ancient rolls of script; today, there are thousands of libraries, each of which holds more information. Fruihwald (1997; 1998), in stating the end of the Gutenberg galaxy, reflects both on the socio-cultural and the technological conditions which made that galaxy blossom, as well as on the consequences for science of its emergence. He emphasizes that in medieval times, before Gutenberg, it was not the individual author, but the "productivewriter"who was at the center of the written culture. The keepers of the flame were the cloisterers, the dominant language of the intelligentsia was Latin, and the couple of hundred books a medieval library possessed were reproduced by hand (Kaltwasser,1997: 13). From those days the German verb verballhornen originates, referring to the "productive writer"Johann Ballhorn, who in the sixteenth century in copying an "ABCbook" let a rooster produce an egg and claimed the intellectual property rights to this imaginative change by noting "embellished and improved by Johann Ballhorn" (Fruhwald, 1998: 316). Given this situation before printing, the Gutenberg invention certainly can also be called a cultural revolution. It effectively challenged the dominance of the Latin language by permitting regional languages their representation and by thus pulling into the social communication process parts of the populace who for sheer language reasons had been previously kept out, although illiteracy remained a limiting factor for quite some time. But there was also a major impact of printing on science, as Fruhwald, based on Elisabeth Eisenstein's (1979) work, points out. The multiplication of printed products led to their standardization and to the need to clearly define their identity. A printed statement gained a special, enhanced authority over the spoken or handwritten word; at the same time, printing gave handwritten documents the dignity of the original. Printing became a technology devoid of a special intellectual quality; printing "invented"the role of the author, and with it the emphasis on intellectual property and on copyrights; and printing, with its growth of scholarly output, invented for the science system the logic of peer review, which challenged the "natural" authority of printed scientific material. Among the main factors making the Gutenberg invention so consequential in the long run were, in the nineteenth century, the development of powerful printing presses for mass production and also the technical process by which paper became abundant and at the same time affordable, a prerequisite for mass printing. Affordable, of course, at that time did not imply that books were to be found in every household. Rather, books belonged to the social and cultural elites, and it is not by chance that the rising social groups struggling for recognition around the turn of the nineteenth century created a broad variety of cultural offerings for their growing memberships, including book clubs which made it at least possible for working class households to own such a commodity (as well as giving access to the writings of working class protagonists like Marx, Engels, Kautsky,and others). Without specifying the complex set of factors and their interaction determining the growth of science since the eighteenth century as a societal subsystem with its own rules and procedures, literacy as a result of the rise in mass education, the economics of industrial society, and the logic of rationality as a consequence of the

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KAASE: PoliticalScienceand theInternet


Enlightenment have all contributed to the development of the science system as it now stands. One of its key features remains its disciplinary organization with special internal cognitive and social hierarchies (Nowotny, 1999: 67). However, the transition from an industrial to a postindustrial, knowledge-based society (Kaase, 1999), particularly in the OECD countries, is challenging this disciplinary orientation, and again a variety of interacting factors has triggered this challenge: the enormous economic growth after the end of World War II, with the ensuing explosion of investment in institutions of higher learning; the disciplinary differentiation of the science system after an initial phase of increasing resources, which now begins to overcome disciplinary boundaries; the acceleration of all social processes through new means of mass communication (telegraph, telephone, fax, electronic mass media, travel); the growing understanding of the complexity and interrelatedness of problems in modern societies, leading to a shift from linear to nonlinear scientific thinking; and the resulting change from discipline-oriented to problem-oriented research agendas-what Gibbons et al. (1994) describe as the transition from mode 1 to mode 2 knowledge production. These processes have developed over some time; the question to be taken up here is to what extent the new information and communication technologies such as the Internet have left their individual marks on the science system and whether political science as a discipline is also affected by them. While in the long run these changes will have a worldwide impact, they are presently most visible in the OECDcountries. Accordingly, I will concentrate on these countries. The Economic Dimension of Information and Communication Technology Latzer (1997) has analyzed in detail the elements in and conditions for the emergence of the information or knowledge society. He describes two major steps in the process: (1) the fusion of telecommunication and computing since the 1970s into telematics, and (2) the fusion of telematics and the electronic media (radio and television) into mediamatics, which will result in a broad variety of multimedia services. This development has been triggered both by technological innovations (the microchip and electronic networking, to name just two), and by a reduced role for the state, especially in Europe, in framing the telecommunications sector. In the German case this is indicated by the establishment of private radio and television since the mid-1980s (dualization), and by the opening up of the telecommunication market to competition in the context of the EU's initiative on "Europe's Way to the Information Society" which, starting in January 1998, has cleared the way for economic competition in this area (Kaase, 1999: 529-531). The EU's emphasis on fostering the "Information Society" shows the economic and political importance assigned by the European Commission to ICT.According to a publication of the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF, 1999), the G7-marketturnover for ICT products was worth about 2.3 billion DM in 1996. In terms of the world market, in 1997 the United States had a 35 percent share, Europe a 30 percent share and Japan a 14 percent share; this leaves the rest of the world with 21 percent (Kaase 1999: 540), thereby emphasizing the role of the us-Europe-Japan "triad" for that market (see Latzer, 1997: 88-94 for further details). Almost everyone working in this field agrees that ICTis an important, probably

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InternationalPoliticalScienceReview21(3) TABLE1. MultimediaMarket1992-96 in G7 Countries(in billioneuros).

Years 1992 in billioneuros %



1996 in billioneuros %

Percentage points change











Networking(mobilephones, datacommunication) 277 Content(suchas software,















MMend products(suchas consumerelectronics)

games, Pay Tv;CD-ROMs) Total

Source:German Federal Ministryof Education and Research (BMBF,1999) http://www.iid.de/bah/BAH_zusammenfassung.html

the most important, growth market in the future for products and services in postindustrial societies. It is difficult to find reliable longitudinal statistics on that market because definitions differ of who and what belongs or does not belong in it. According to the above BMBFpublication, a comparison of various elements in the multimedia market shows an unmistakable growth potential, with an average 10 to 11 percentage points annual increase (see Table 1). However, these dynamics must not be misread as an indication that ICT is already contributing massivelyto the gross national product in the G7 countries; its share is still below 10 percent. On the other hand, studies have shown that the growth of the telecommunications market is an important incentive for overall economic growth (Kaase, 1999: 540-541). The impact of ICTon the labor market is similarly multifaceted. Not the least because in many European countries telecommunications was for years in the hands of the state as a monopoly, privatization and growth of ICT have at best led to a neutral balance in employment effects, and often in fact to an initial reduction in overall employment through market-induced rationalization. Only as new services develop can a positive employment balance of ICTbe expected. These findings show that the revolution, with the Internet as the epitome of ICT and multimedia, is just beginning, although at a tremendous pace. Given the anticipated pervasiveness of this development in the state, for business and in private homes, it should surprise no one that the process is accompanied, like globalization, with many hopes, but with at least as many fears (see for instance Dertouzos, 1997; Webster, 1995). The speed of these changes makes it difficult to assess their consequences for the social, cultural and political order (for a collection of ambivalent voices see Leggewie and Maar, 1998). Dertouzos, similarly to Negroponte (1995), with slight reservations offers a very positive vision: ... these imperativesto reuniteour humanitywithour technologyare not easy tasks,because they call for wholesale change in human thinking and in a behaviorthathas takenhold of us for severalcenturies.It will takegreateffort

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KAASE: PoliticalScienceand theInternet


and perseveranceto undergo these changes.But it's worthit. Unified, we shall thrustourselvesand our world forwardin waysthat will satisfyand pay tribute to the newwholes thatwe willbe. Then this new Age of Unificationwill rejoinwithin us faith, reason, nature, and humanity,paving the way for the Fourth Revolution, beyond human artifactsand their consequences, aimed inward at understandingourselves (Dertouzos,1997:316). The Internet It would be interesting to look in detail at how the Internet came about; this cannot and must not be done here. What is probably most telling is that the initial concept, in particular its decentralized structure, was developed for the us Department of Defense and other related agencies. Its genesis was systematically integrated by the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and its Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). The resulting and is generally regarded electronic communication network was called ARPANET as the first forerunner to the Internet (for details see Dertouzos, 1997: 35-43; Cailliau, 1998; Leib and Werle, 1998). The Internet is characterized by its decentralization (this was a core feature especially for military use, to make it less vulnerable to external attack) and by the fact that it is used by commercial and scientific institutions as well as by private citizens. It is a network linking computers with each other; these host computers individually permit access to the Internet for a large number of other computers, and estimates by the American "Network Wizards" were that in January of 1997 about 16 million Internet hosts existed worldwide (see also OECD,1998: 12-15). While the terms "Internet"and the "WorldWide Web" (www or 3w) have come to be publicly used almost synonymously, they are not at all the same thing: "... think of the Internet as a postal system for shipping raw information among the world's computers. And think of the Web as a specific way of using this system to view and visit information on distant sites by clicking your mouse" (Dertouzos, 1997: 18). Caillau (1998) has described the genesis of the World Wide Web, which he designed with Tim Berners-Lee for CERN(Centre Europeenne pour la Recherche Nucleaire, near Geneva) as a network-hypertext project for the field of highenergy physics. After CERNin 1991 offered the first "Line-mode" browser for the Internet free of charge, more and more institutional users became interested in the technology, and in 1994 the World Wide Web Consortium was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); by the end of 1997 it had almost 250 members (Dertouzos, 1997: 6). This consortium is responsible for all www regulations. One of the properties of the www is its hypertext capability, which easily directs users from one website to another through links. What is increasingly important for the science system at large and also for the social sciences is the possibility to integrate multimedia, text, and static graphic displays such as photographs and tables, as well as dynamic visual presentations and sound. (This capability of the www is, for instance, more and more used by television stations, which put complete offerings such as newscasts on the Net on a regular basis.) For the humanities it will become very attractive to join textual, audio, and visual information, thereby opening up completely new avenues for scholarly analysis and reproducibility of findings by other researchers, as in content analysis of visual information.

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Given the attractiveness of such Internet services, its novelty, the growing ease of usage through browsers and search machines, and the ever-decreasing hardware cost, it is little wonder that at least in the OECD countries the Internet has become a widespread commodity, estimates pointing to a magnitude of about 160 million users in 1999. In the science system, for quite the same reasons Internet access has become, again at least in the OECDcountries, almost universal (OECD 1998: 12-15); in fact, the coverage is so widespread that presently new, improved technologies are designed to make Internet use more efficient in time, potential, and cost. These include Internet 2; Very High Speed Network Backbone Service (VBNS);Next Generation Internet (NGI);Trans-European Network (TEN34); and national networks like the German "Breitband-Wissenschaftsnetz"and Super-Janet in the United Kingdom (OECD,1998: 15-17). However, one of the problems here is that, very similar to the knowledge gap hypothesis in mass communication research (Bonfadelli, 1994), there are obvious disparities in access by scholars in different parts of the world to this resource (UNESCO, 1999). In this context, another problem also surfaces which is very consequential for international scholarly discourse, namely that the predominance of English on the Internet not only requires language capabilities but also forces a certain way of languagerelated thinking onto a broad variety of national scholarly cultures. The Internet, Multimedia, and the Science System General Considerations In the section on the Gutenberg galaxy, it was argued that the invention of printing not only led to deep cultural and social changes, but was also instrumental in the emergence of the social subsystem of science as it is known at the end of the twentieth century, and that the emergence of new information and communication technologies (ICT)is, jointly with other factors, contributing to an acceleration of social processes; whereas a letter from Europe to the United States, even when sent air mail, used to take up to two weeks for delivery, an e-mail exchange between, say, British and American scholars can now go back and forth many times during a single day. Acceleration is mentioned here also for a more systematic reason. Given the speed of the ICTdevelopments, the question is whether they have already been subjected to systematic social research, especially with respect to their eventual effects on the structure of the science system at large and of individual disciplines. This question would require a much more detailed search than is possible for this article; checks in libraries and with scholars competent in this field seem to indicate, however, that results of systematic research on this topic are not yet available (Wiest, 1998: 299). The Growthof Science and of ScientificInformation Growth and differentiation are the main factors characterizing the development of education and science in the contemporary OECDcountries. For instance, in West Germany the percentage of youth formally qualified for a university education rose from 5.6 percent in 1960 to 27.8 percent in 1988, and university staff grew between 1970 and 1980 by 46 percent. It is argued that with the numeric growth of the science system its output of research findings and publications to

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KAASE: PoliticalScienceand theInternet


carry them to the community of scholars has necessarily followed suit (in fact in an exponential curve: see de Solla Price, 1974: 13-42). Coakley and Doyle (1996), for example, come up with a list of more than 300 political science journals published in Europe in 1995. Unfortunately, there is no longitudinal analysis available of how these numbers developed over the last 40 years, but there is every reason to assume that the increase after 1945 is not equally distributed over the whole span of time but was concentrated in the last 20 years. Clearly, it is impossible for any individual political scientist in Europe to become familiar with the content of all of those European political science journals, not to speak of important related fields like sociology, economics, mass communication, and social psychology, nor those pertinent political science journals published outside of Europe, such as the AmericanPolitical ScienceReviewor the AmericanJournal of PoliticalScience.However, there are at least three other structural limitations to be considered when it comes to coping with information growth. First, it is common knowledge by now that university libraries can no longer afford to buy all the journals on the market for the various disciplines; thus, choices have to be made, and access in many instances becomes, if not impossible, at least time-consuming and cumbersome (as through the inter-university library loan system). Secondly, while it may be impossible to familiarize oneself with all the articles published in the journals of the relevant discipline-the problem of the vastly increasing number of monographs and edited volumes is not addressed for the time being-it is at least conceivable to look at the tables of contents (this has been effected the hard way by some institutions of higher learning which routinely supply researchers with this photocopied information; however, the Internet here is opening up new, faster options). Then there is, thirdly, the language problem, especially in Europe, with its cultural, social, and political diversity. Many European political scientists who publish only in their own language have found that, however relevant their research may be for the discipline, native English speakers and writers in their field often ignore their findings when published in languages other than English. This problem is reinforced by the fact that the language capabilities and inclination of many native English-speakers regarding other languages are, to put it politely, usually quite limited. This is the reason why in Europe professional journals over the years have increasingly decided to publish either all or some articles in English, or are at least have discussed such a transition. Some of those problems, depending on the specific context, are either enhanced or partly resolved through the digitalization of information and through modern electronic networking, which lead to the increasing availabilityof information at the researcher's workplace. Is ThereAnything Special About the Social Sciences? When it comes to the impact of ICT on the science system, one particular example is routinely put forward: the E-Print-Archive Forum of The American Physical Society, which (with its associated Los Alamos National Laboratory Preprint server) was pioneered by Paul Ginspang at Los Alamos in the field of high-energy physics almost a decade ago (Wiest, 1998: 286-287). The total number of admissions to the archive in April 1999 had gone beyond 100 000, and Figure 1 shows that since the start of the archive in 1991 the number of monthly submissions has increased continuously and regularly.

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272 3000



2000 j


















Last103months(7 Feb'00total= 123,286)

FIGURE 1. MonthlySubmissionRate Statistics,E-Print-Archive

(Number of new submissions received during each month since August 1991). Source:http://xxx.lanl.gov/cgi-bin/show_monthly_submissions

Thus, a major impact on high-energy physics of the new mode of scholarly communication is obvious. However, the fact that at this website preprints are made available at the time of submission reflects very much the specialty of working with a limited number of expensive instruments and therefore cannot be generalized across other fields (OECD, 1998: 54; the OECD describes in detail the impact of ICT on a variety of fields especially in the natural sciences). But what about the social sciences? Hobohm (1999), in his analysis of social science information and documentation for UNESCO'S World Social Science Report 1999, gives various reasons why ICT as of now has not become as consequential for the social sciences as for other disciplines. Probably the most important point made in his chapter is that the social sciences are not cumulative and at the same time selective, as are other fields: they lack the generally accepted scholarly criteria by which research findings, such as in the natural sciences, can be eliminated if according to the present state of the discipline they are no longer valid (see also Kaltwasser, 1997: 14). Thus, in the social sciences not only is there an information overload, but there is also an element of arbitrariness immanent in scholarly debates: in principle, anything goes. Nor are there institutionalized penalties for ignoring previous evidence and research, and so the accumulation of knowledge is slow and cumbersome, if it takes place at all. A problem here is that social phenomena are so diverse that it is difficult to aim for and to achieve the kind of theory-based generalized knowledge known from the natural sciences (Mayntz, 1995). How have social scientists tried to cope with the increasing problem of information overload? Based on his research, Hobohm (1999) argues that many social scientists (this is apparently even more true for the humanitiesGeisteswissenschaften) start their research with the information available in their

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KAASE: PoliticalScienceand theInternet


immediate surroundings, even if this is only their own personal collection of books, articles, and papers. Those are convenient to use, familiar, and often assembled according to the research specialties a scholar has established over the years. For the reasons given above, there is little incentive in the humanities and in the social sciences to give up these traditional ways of collecting information, even if more and more resources to ease access and to broaden the knowledge base become available. In part, this is still a resource problem (Hrachovec, 1996: 377; UNESCO, 1999); in the literature one also frequently finds the argument that their more competent and easy-going approach to the new resources of the younger scholars will enhance their position vis-a-visthe older scholars and will in the long run, at least to a certain degree, reduce status differences in the science system (seeJacob, 1996: 208; Schmitz, 1997: 87; OECD, 1998: 24; Wiest, 1998: 292). One development that may well accelerate the use of ICT services in the humanities and social sciences is the multimedia properties of the World Wide Web (Hrachovec, 1996: 382-383). Its capability to integrate textual, audio, and visual information is likely to change the presentation of research on cultural, social, and political phenomena in a basic fashion. Qualitative analysis of written texts derived from oral history reports, as is traditionally done, or integrating audiovisual reports into a published document, will not only give flavor and substance to an argument but will also at the same time help to evaluate critically the interpretations and conclusions derived from such material. This example is a very simple one in the wide array of integrated, complex presentations of research findings. In sum, then, there seems to be no question even regarding the social sciences, that ICT and the resulting services provided by public institutions like libraries, academic data archives, and commercial firms will at least revolutionize access to information and to data, and will even change the structure and makeup of some fields of research. Whether these trends at some time in the future will also have an impact on the social sciences, either positive or negative, must at this time remain an open question. The most serious argument against better research quality based on more information and easily accessible data is, as mentioned in the beginning of this section, the lack of criteria for eliminating outdated theoretical approaches and faulty data and empirical findings; there is every reason to believe that information overload under such circumstances will immobilize researchers if they do not become even more selective-which in many instances may mean more idiosyncratic-in their choice of material. One way out of this dilemma for the scholarly associations is to create a reward system for scientists who at regular intervals do stock-taking studies of research in special subfields of social science disciplines; such studies could enormously profit from the availability of recent, reliable, and reasonably complete information (Wissenschaftsrat, 1992: 32-33, 47). What's Going On Right Now? The 1998 OECD report scrutinizes a variety of topics, among them the communication between scientists and the eventual emergence of new, IcT-induced kinds of research collaboration, as well as the educational system, with particular emphasis on the universities. These points will be only briefly discussed here because they are not central to our main topic, ICT'S impact on the social sciences, and on political science in particular. The change in the market for printed

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products, especially the digitalization of scholarly journals for online publishing and the emergence of electronic journals, is our main focus, to be examined in greater depth below. Communicationand CollaborationbetweenScholars. There is no question that communication among scholars has been eased and intensified by the e-mail facility of the Internet. According to OECD (1998: 12), by 1994 in the United States 75 percent of the sociologists and 67 percent of the political scientists in universities communicated through e-mail. This percentage in the United States has certainly increased since then, and while no precise figures exist for the OECD countries, it can be safely assumed that there, too, e-mail is now widely used for scholarly communication, for sending and receiving data to speed up collaboration in empirical research projects, for writing co-authored papers within as well as across countries and continents, and for simply exchanging notes which were previously sent out as letters. An interesting question is, to what extent has electronic mail measurably speeded up research and improved scholarly cooperation across universities and other research sites? To generalize from personal experience and from the observation of colleagues, the effects of electronic communication are substantial and mostly positive. This is buffered by data indicating that between 1981 and 1991 in the United States, in the natural sciences and in engineering, international collaborative publications increased on the average from 8.8 percent to 11 percent (OECD,1998: 20; unfortunately, the document fails to establish the causal link between network access and use and enhanced international coauthorships. Furthermore, the argument rests on the assumption that international co-authorship per se is a good thing). Especially in the natural sciences, ICT networks have obviously enhanced systematic cooperation between research sites and laboratories in research. This has resulted in "a new form of scientific work... the 'extended research group.' This is typically a large, unified, cohesive, co-operative research group that is geographically dispersed, yet co-ordinated as if it were at one location and under the guidance of a single director. It provides access to colleagues and to equipment, software and data bases that are traditionally part of laboratory organisation, without regard to geography" (OECD,1998: 19, 44-46). The virtual arrangements are called collaboratories, or centers without walls, and have become effective, indispensable research structures, for instance in atmospheric and space science, biology, chemistry, medicine, and physics. How these collaboratories actually operate and what their assets are, as well as their potential pitfalls, has not yet been demonstrated by empirical research, other than what happens when private companies link laboratories across countries (Brockhoff, 1998). Brockhoff demonstrates that both the linkage and its study are rather complex matters which do not lend themselves easily to explication. To what extent ICT has stimulated national and particularly international cooperation in social science research is difficult to say, since this kind of research meets many obstacles on other than technical grounds; it will require more time and systematic observation to reliably assess this matter. However, there is no question that ICThas considerably eased cooperation in general, especially with regard to joint publications by scholars in different locations. Teaching in Universities and Beyond. By the mid-1990s ICT had started to influence

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KAASE: PoliticalScienceand theInternet


the shape of teaching at universities. According to a 1995 survey conducted at all German universities by the Conference of German University Rectors, at that time in about half of all disciplines some ICT was in use for teaching, and many of the universities planned to increase their ICT teaching resources (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, 1996; 1997). These reports also note a great deal of variance among universities and disciplines in ICT application for teaching and student use, with political science holding the sixth lowest position among 35 disciplines (much lower than psychology, economics, and sociology). Certainly, these data reflect but one point in time, and one would need a detailed comparative analysis of the role ICT is now playing in university training to come to a valid assessment of the situation. Also, universities in the mid-1990s seemed to be in the phase of innovation diffusion, where much depended on individuals and groups who engaged in ICT implementation and use (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, 1996: 8; OECD 1998: 58; this factor should at least in part explain the observed variances among universities and disciplines). But data from the United States indicate that there ICT use in teaching is in the process of becoming firmly established on the educational agenda, as shown by Table 2. On a different dimension of education, ICTwill probably become even more important for distance teaching and virtual universities than for on-location teaching. As OECD (1998: 62-64) observes, in the long run the "virtualclassroom" bears the promise not only of higher cost-effectiveness, but also of higher resulteffectiveness because of the interactive and self-instruction multimedia potential of ICT. For instance, more and more distance-teaching takes place in medicine, where for example young scholars around the world can participate audio-visually in complicated operations performed by first-rate teachers in first-rate medical centers. There is no reason why an equivalent approach to distance-teaching should not be possible for the social sciences. Furthermore, while OECD notes quite a few differences in the use of distanceteaching in Europe, the existing open universities are increasingly applying ICT for their teaching (for the German Fernuniversitat Hagen see Schlageter and Mittrach, 1999). Finally, ICT distance-teaching is bound to open up new avenues for helping effectively to achieve the goal of life-long learning, a goal that has been consensually put on their political agendas by the OECD countries. In sum, ICT has already had a major effect on university teaching; variants of distance-teaching will spread further and will in the long run change the face of universities. With respect to political science, especially regarding empirical research, sooner or later ICT's effects on teaching, too, will be felt. Whether the basic structure of the discipline will also be affected is not quite as clear. The same, however, cannot be said for the next topic to be discussed: publishing. ElectronicPublishing.Online publishing opens up direct access to a broad variety of pertinent information for scientists through electronic networks and powerful personal computers; offline publishing, in which information is stored on CDROMS, while easing access to and usability of information, is clearly secondary to online publishing in its impact on the science system. In an article in the German newsmagazine Die Zeit, Zimmer (1997) stated that for German university libraries about 20 000 scholarly journals were relevant. The Bavarian Regensburg University in a pilot project has assembled electronic information from 43 libraries on about 6 200 journals, among them 110 in

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TABLE 2. Resultsfrom the USSurveyof IT Usein HigherEducation(in percent).

Planning Strategic plan for role of IT Financial plan for IT purchase and replacement1 Technology use Proportionof coursesusing IT resources E-mail Computer classrooms Computer simulations/exercises Presentation handouts Commercial courseware Multimedia resources CD-ROMbased material www pages







43.4 28.1

48.4 28.9

8.0 16.0 9.0 15.1 11.0 4.0 4.0

20.1 24.0 14.0 25.7 18.5 8.4 9.0 6.2 10.9

25.0 24.0 14.4 28.4 18.5 11.0 8.9 9.2 15.3

32.8 22.6 14.5 33.0 16.9 13.4 11.4 24.0 24.8

55.2 24.4 12.5 38.1

79.4 30.1 17.5 56.8 12.2 40.0

34.2 24.8 58.3 12.2 40.3

Internet resources

In institutions: www and Internet On site Plan for use in instruction Plan for use in distance education Plan for use for off-campus promotion (marketing) Recognizing IT in tenure & promotion committees Mandatory IT requirement for all students2 Considering Internet2 access essential by 1999 Universities 2- and 4-year colleges Single most important IT issue confronting institution over the next 2-3 years Assisting faculty to integrate IT into instrumentation Providing adequate user support Enhancing/expanding user networks Financing the replacement of hardware & software Using ITeffectively in distance education Providing universal access to the Internet Mandatory technology/computer fee for students Campus systems connected to the network


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