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Title: Toward shared system knowledge : an empirical study of knowledge sharing policy and practice in systems engineering research in the UK
Author: Di Maio, Paola
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2012
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Research started in 2009 as an enquiry in Knowledge Reuse in Systems Engineering, as part of an EPSRC funded project, with the aim to evaluate and improve the mechanisms of knowledge reuse among practitioners. Knowledge segmentation in different Systems Engineering domains, knowledge representation techniques, artifacts and information exchange mechanisms were identified and benchmarked. Despite a wealth of publicly funded research, systems integration with digital environment and despite the apparent adherence of knowledge holders to funding policies the required resources were not accessible due to a complex entanglement of politics, culture, language and unidentified factors such as psychology and prejudice of key stakeholders. The thesis identifies the knowledge representation, exchange and reuse mechanism and technical artifacts used in Engineering practice, as well as non technical challenges that prevent access and reuse to knowledge, especially considering the existence of Open Access policies and in relation to the perspective of a 'knowledge seeker' in the systems engineering knowledge domain. Open Access policies applicable to this domain in the UK are evaluated in the context of a wider regulatory landscape that motivates their existence, specifically monitoring the availability of shared resources such as journal publications as well as other digital mechanisms and knowledge sharing artifacts adopted in technical domains. A unique research methodology is devised that combines mixed method techniques, including FOI (freedom of information) requests. A novel collection instrument and a set of heuristic indicators are developed to support the empirical observation of the gap between 'Open Access policies in theory', corresponding approximately to what the funding body state on their website, and 'Open Access policies in practice', corresponding to the level of adoption of these policies by grant holders in Systems Engineering Research and findability. A systematic review and a meta-analysis of a 100 publicly-funded projects are carried out. The research makes a number of unique contributions, including KAF (Knowledge Audit Framework), a novel approach enabling remote auditing of digital resources, OAM (Open Access Monitor) the first monitoring method and web service for OA, and a core vocabulary for systems engineering knowledge representation. The research concludes demonstrating empirically that in the majority of the audited project publicly-funded by UK research councils, and despite the existence of policies to ensure Open Access, no resources could be located.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available