The goal of this project was to accelerate progress toward the implementation of next-generation civil infrastructure through the use of CI and create a roadmap and set of lessons that could be applied in other scientific and engineering communities to expand their understanding and use of CI.
This project used open-source collaboration and learning environment, Sakai, to create an integrated international community focused on engineered cementitious composites (ECC). The ECC community often struggles with barriers of distance and disciplinary boundaries in developing and disseminating ECC techniques. By using Sakai, researchers in the ECC community could rapidly identify and adopt CI-based tools without imposing costs of development and integration. Benefits of Sakai for ECC researchers included improved capacity to coordinate joint activity at a distance, more effective transmission of know-how, and an accelerated migration of research findings into standard building codes and construction practice.
Although CI can play a key role in knitting together multi-disciplinary activities across multiple geographic and organizational scales, in most cases the successful use of CI relies heavily on the convergence of CI-savvy individuals, centrality within research networks, and institutional prestige. This project demonstrated how scientists and engineers can realize CI-associated benefits without special individual or organizational circumstances, via the use of an integrated collaboration environment. Understanding and communicating this experience will help provide insight into the nature of future CI-based collaboration, particularly with respect to shaping CI development and deployment to ensure higher likelihood of broad benefit to scientists and engineers.