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Different contexts in electronic communication: some remarks on the communicability of scientific knowledge

Adriana Valente (National Research Council – Institute of Studies on Research and Scientific Documentation Via C. De Lollis 12, 00185 Rome, Italy)
Daniela Luzi (National Research Council – Institute of Studies on Research and Scientific Documentation Via C. De Lollis 12, 00185 Rome, Italy)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 June 2000

Abstract

This paper explores how and to what extent the appearance and wide use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) may enhance scientific communication and knowledge. The first part analyses the general boundaries of scientific communication, focusing on the use of email. It summarises and develops the results of relevant international studies and surveys on computer‐mediated communication; it identifies, on the one hand, the principal social settings and contexts in which email is used and, on the other, the characteristic features which determine specific communication models. The analysis provides evidence of the various factors which determine the dynamics of electronic communication and which, more specifically, define the difference between business and scientific communication. The second part of the paper explores the close relationship between communication and knowledge in the scientific sector and the role played by ICTs. The assumption that ICTs ought to enhance the acquisition, sharing and transmission of scientific knowledge is questioned by the distinction between explicit and tacit knowledge: ICTs ultimately appear to provide a strong drive only to processes of explicit/coded knowledge handling. Nevertheless, exploring the main components of tacit knowledge in depth, and considering recent ICT‐based applications, it is possible to foresee new opportunities for the creation and dissemination of knowledge through networks.

Keywords

Citation

Valente, A. and Luzi, D. (2000), "Different contexts in electronic communication: some remarks on the communicability of scientific knowledge", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 299-311. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000007117

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

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