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The Role of Computer Mediated Technologies (CMITs) in Scientific Collaboration in the Arab World

Aldaihani, Abdalaziz
Committee Members: 
Dr. Suzie Allard
December 2011

Abstract: This study focuses on a component of computer-mediated communicated which is labeled computer mediated technologies (CMTs) and is composed of the latest group of internet technology and digital media including social networking, Web2.0, Smartphone and Videoconferencing. The computer mediated technologies (CMTs) have the potential to facilitate scientific collaboration between scientists from north and south.

This dissertation is a quantitative study that investigates the relationship between CMT use and collaboration, CMT use and research productivity, scientific collaboration and research productivity in Kuwait and the digital divide between developing and developed countries. This study answers the following questions: (1) To what degree has the scientific community in Kuwait adopted CMTs? (2) Are there any differences in the use of CMTs between faculty members (at KU) and researchers (in KISR) for scientific collaboration? (3) To what extent is CMT use associated with scientific collaboration in Kuwait? (4) To what extent is CMT use associated with research productivity in Kuwait? (5) What is the relationship between scientific collaboration and research productivity in Kuwait?

The results show that the scientific community in Kuwait is very connected to the internet and has adopted using CMT channels in their daily work. However, there is a difference between academia and research scientists in their educational and collaboration activities. The difference is more notable when Kuwaiti scientists collaborated with scientists in the U.S. and Canada and there is a relationship with the use of CMTs for collaboration. The findings further suggest that scientists who graduated from developed countries collaborate more than scientists who graduated from developing areas. Also there is a correlation between gaining a PhD from developed countries and increased publication in foreign journals. The results support the assumption that collaboration leads to research productivity. But there is a real problem facing the Kuwaiti scientists because they spend little time on their research activities.