As the first commenter at the blog post on the Chronicle noted, people have been using Skype to collaborate across distances for a while now. But it is still a good reminder that distance is coming to mean less and less in academia. We can work with anyone. We can learn from researchers in India, Antarctica, Brazil, Pequot Lakes even when our research has nothing to do with India, Antarctica, Brazil or Pequot Lakes. Imagine a world where a Public Health researcher can learn how colleagues all over the world are addressing the challenges obesity and use that knowledge to propose local solutions. Or a researcher on educational policy can get feedback on a policy draft from experts in China and India and Canada.
Our research questions, and importantly, our solutions, can pull from the best in the world, not just the best in the country. The changes happening now are remarkable.