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Summary form only given. Collaboratories to support scientific research have been around for at least two decades, and have emerged as an important form of cyberinfrastructure to enable ever more ambitious geographically distributed research projects. A broadened view of what a collaboratory is suggests there are a variety of kinds of functions they could support. Early collaboratories were often rather narrow in focus, but some have broadened to mimic fully-functional laboratories. Furthermore, while almost all early collaboratories were in the physical and biological sciences, by now they have emerged as serious research infrastructure in most domains, including the social sciences and humanities. The author will review the kinds of functions that collaboratories support, illustrated with a variety of examples from our studies of over 200 collaboratories. The author will also talk about how the changing technical scene opens new opportunities for the next generation of collaboratories. Finally, he will discuss the sociotechnical factors that distinguish successful from unsuccessful collaboratories.
Date of Conference: 18-22 May 2009