Knowledge Networks in Scientific Research

Knowledge Networks in Scientific Research

Filipa M. Ribeiro (University of Porto, Portugal)

In recent years, a fast-growing body of research shows that characteristics of social relationships and the networks they constitute influence the efficacy and efficiency by which individuals and collectives create knowledge by affecting their ability to access, transfer, absorb, and apply knowledge. Knowledge networks are usually defined as a set of actors who are repositories of knowledge and who create, transfer and adopt knowledge. The social connections among these nodes are seen as channels and/or conduits of information and knowledge. SNA has brought to light empirical connections that tested and filled many theories of the sociology of science and the study of the evolution of several disciplines, of scientific and technological collaborations within academia and along the university-industry linkages. One of the most robust tracks of research is, indeed, collaboration relations visible through co-authorships of scientific papers and patents, as well as in less formal modes, such as visiting periods, academic conferences, and other path dependencies and lock-in phenomena rooted in knowledge tacitness and in the existence of knowledge spillovers. All these drives to emergent network of collaborations more or less close to the socially optimal structure, a trend that is reinforced by public budget cuts in universities and science. This raises questions concerning the nature and the extent of knowledge itself, of emergent forms of scientific collaboration, and of the impact of academic work to society at large: from rule-makers, creating incentives for networks formation, to career mobility in the disciplines, to traditional internationalization and demographically-driven massification dynamics, to the creation of research agendas, to acculturation outcomes experienced by scientists and academics, and to public entrepreneurs whose functions are intertwined with those of firms and universities.

This session welcomes empirical, theoretical, and policy-oriented works concerning the following, non-exhaustive list of topics:

  • Statistical and network properties of real-world scientific collaboration networks
  • Network formation models: behavioural, cognitive and institutional determinants
  • The effects of scientific collaboration on the quality of academic outputs
  • Identification of efficient network structures
  • Gender and scientific networking
  • Knowledge creation
  • Diversity in scientific institutions
  • Comparative studies of scientific networks across time and space
  • Multilevel networks of scientific production
  • Citation analysis and scientific communities.




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