User:Chad Wickman

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I am a new member of OpenWetWare!

Contact Info & Research Interests

Lab Technology.JPG
  • Chad Wickman
  • Auburn University

I am an assistant professor in English at Auburn University and teach in a program that specializes in the study of technical and professional communication. My own research program specifically focuses on scientific writing and the ways in which scientists utilize different technological and semiotic resources to undertake and communicate findings from their work.

The bulk of my research to date stems from a study I conducted from 2007-2009 in a chemical physics and materials sciences research institute. During this time, I explored how groups of scientists use texts—e.g., laboratory notebooks, multimedia presentations, research articles—to share information with one another and with the broader scientific community. I have presented my work at several academic conferences, including twice at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society.

A natural extension of my ongoing investigations has been to explore how digital technologies, like electronic laboratory notebooks, have begun transform scientific writing from a situated, print-bound activity into a highly distributed multimedia undertaking. This in turn has led me to explore online scientific communities and how sites like OpenWetware provide an integrative space within which scientists can disseminate, examine, and deliberate about different aspects of their research.

I have been familiar with this site (and others like it) for some time now and find it to be very interesting project in the open sharing of scientific information. My aim in joining this community is to discover, through methods of digital ethnography, how web technologies are shaping the ways in which scientists communicate about their work. I am particularly interested in investigating how digital notebooks are part of the communication that takes place in this setting.

The outcomes of this research stand to benefit how we (academics, scientists, the lay public) understand scientific communication and may also provide scientists with a different, and hopefully useful, perspective—that of a non-scientist who is interested in the relationship between digital technologies and scientific research culture. I am currently taking steps to verify my research and presence on this site through the Institutional Review Board at Auburn University.

I would be very happy to share any insights that might come out of this research with your community, and I hope to develop relationships that will offer some use to this important project in scientific research and communication.


  • PhD in English, Kent State University, 2009

Research interests

  1. Scientific Writing
  2. Digital Technology
  3. Multimodal Semiotics


  1. Wickman, C. (2010). Writing material in chemical physics research: The laboratory notebook as locus of technical and textual integration. Written Communication, 27, 259-292.

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