Robotic Bureaucracy and Administrative Burden: What Are the Effects of Universities’ Computer Automated Research Grants Management Systems?

Our paper seeks to understand effects of computerized approaches to university research grants and contracts management, especially impacts on administrative burden. Ours is a multi-method paper, including interviews with academic researchers but focuses chiefly on participant-observer research, using hundreds of our own emails from two projects located at two different universities. We find that robotic emails have complex effects and that their utility pertains to researchers’ familiarity with the systems and compliance requirements, the clarity of administrative requests, the extent and location of staff support, and the interaction of personal work habits with system requirements. We provide suggestions for improving automated research administration.

Author(s): Barry Bozeman, Jan Youtie, Jiwon Jung
Organization(s): Arizona State University, Georgia Institute of Technology
Source: Research Policy
Year: 2020

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