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Since 2000, the National Science Foundation has depended upon its pioneering FastLane e-government system to manage grant applications, peer reviews, and reporting. In this behind-the-scenes account Thomas J. Misa and Jeffrey R. Yost examine how powerful forces of science and computing came together to create this influential grant-management system, assessing its impact on cutting-edge scientific research.
Why did the NSF create FastLane, and how did it anticipate the development of web-based e-commerce? What technical challenges did the glitch-prone early system present? Did the switch to electronic grant proposals disadvantage universities with fewer resources? And how did the scientific community help shape FastLane?
Foregrounding the experience of computer users, the book draws on hundreds of interviews with scientific researchers, sponsored project administrators, NSF staff, and software designers, developers, and managers.