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Collisions and CollaborationThe Organization of Learning in the ATLAS Experiment at the LHC$
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Max Boisot, Markus Nordberg, Saïd Yami, and Bertrand Nicquevert

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567928.001.0001

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ATLAS as Collective Strategy

ATLAS as Collective Strategy

(p.98) 5 ATLAS as Collective Strategy
Collisions and Collaboration

Saïd Yami

Markus Nordberg

Bertrand Nicquevert

Max Boisot

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the inter- and intraorganizational dynamics that characterizes Big Science. It shows, first, that the high stakes associated with a unique, next-generation particle physics experiment will lead actors to collaborate and share resources; secondly, that, given the uncertainties, a loosely coupled institutional framework is essential for the pursuit of such a collaborative approach. The way that the ATLAS Collaboration deals with the collective action problem holds valuable lessons for all organizations — commercial, government, voluntary, and so on — involved in the production of knowledge in the 21st century. The chapter begins by exploring the nature of collective strategies and the varying degrees of collaboration they engender from a theoretical perspective. It then briefly describes the functioning of the ATLAS Collaboration as a collective practice. In a discussion section, it brings theory and description together in order to make sense of such a practice. It concludes with a brief look at the implications of the analysis of Big Science collaborations for the scientific enterprise as a whole and for science-based commercial collaborations in particular.

Keywords:   ATLAS Collaboration, Big Science, particle physics experiments, collective action, scientific collaborations

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