Yaffle your way to collaborative research?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ryan Saxby Hill, Media Relations Ever had a tough problem that you wished you could run past an eminent expert in the field? Do you have a big question that might benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration? Sometimes the first problem is locating the right expert. Memorial University is working to make sure that you won’t have that problem with their researchers, and at the same time, testing an example of how universities might be able to encourage links between researchers and the community using online technology. Researchers at Memorial have created an online search tool for research taking place at the University called “Yaffle.” (For the information of those less fluent in Newfoundland English, the project’s creators report that a Yaffle is a collection of sticks or fish).

In her article on the project in this weekend’s Globe and Mail, Elizabeth Church wrote that the “demand for knowledge-sharing is spawning new efforts to decipher academic material and place it in the hands of people who can put it to work.” That seems to be what this is all about. Researchers are creating knowledge that users in the community (policy, business, NGOs etc) can use. Yaffle is trying to facilitate that interaction online. You can search for projects, researchers pr topics of interest and find out how to get in touch with those working on the project. The Google for research? Making research more accessible to those looking for it? Interesting thought. Congrats to the team at Memorial and York for this great article in the Globe and Mail on their projects!