The main aim of the paper is discussing the exchange processes in collaboration ego-networks among scientists. On some fundamental level, we can think of scholars as actors possessing, or controlling, various types of resources. These resources can be roughly grouped into the following categories: human capital resources including skills and knowledge; social capital resources including social status and social connections to other researchers; financial capital resources including access to and control of research funds. Desirability and uneven distribution of these resources between different scholars create opportunities for collaboration that take the form of exchange. Previous research has developed general rules for exchange: behaviour is motivated by the desire to increase gain and to avoid loss, exchange relations develop in structures of mutual dependence, actors engage in recurrent, mutually contingent exchanges with specific partners over time, valued outcomes obey the economic law of diminishing marginal utility. However, it does not take into consideration types of resources, which are substantial for understanding scientific collaboration networks. Based on 30 IDI conducted with Polish scholars we show what resources are a subject of exchange; what are the motivation to initiate and engage in exchange; what are the norms regulating the exchange of different types of resources?

Świat nauki, naukowcy oraz charakter pracy naukowej składają się na fascynujący system społeczny, w którego funkcjonowaniu różne normy, hierarchie organizacyjne i statusowe mieszają się z konkurencją i współpracą. Szczególnie współpraca pomiędzy naukowcami wydaje się mieć istotne znaczenie jako mechanizm pozwalający na łączne korzystanie z różnego rodzaju wyspecjalizowanych zasobów. Sieci istniejącej współpracy stanowią tzw. “Niewidzialny(-e) Uniwersytet(y)”. Przedstawimy wybrane wyniki realizowanego aktualnie projektu dotyczącego konkurencji i współpracy w nauce polskiej, jak odkrywać “Niewidzialny Uniwersytet” i jak wygląda on w Polsce oraz jakich istotnych zjawisk badając “Niewidzialny Uniwersytet” tradycyjnymi metodami nie poznamy.

Abstract: In recent decades doing science has become more and more a collective endeavor requiring cooperation crossing institutional and disciplinary boundaries. Although this phenomenon has been defined and described on macro level, the knowledge about individual motivations, norms and values fostering scholarly communication is limited.Evidence brought by scientometric studies misses out cooperation which is not related to co-authorship. Moreover, since scholarly community varies greatly in co-authorship norms, this kind of information have different meaning varying from field to field, especially in the case of Poland, where recent reforms of legal and financial framework were meant to encourage researchers to intensify cooperation within and outside academia. Questions like: “How does scientific collaboration is initiated?”, “What are the motivations to engage in new collaborations?” or “Under what conditions do collaborations last in time?”, demand different, qualitative tools. Our study, based on 30 IDI’s with Polish scholars representing various disciplines and research centers of different quality and size, revealed the existence of important differences in initiating and conducting teamwork activities. Teams are built in different ways: by seeking a new collaborator with rare set of skills, reviving existing but temporarily inactive network of researchers known from earlier projects, or simply engaging in-house subordinates. Motivations and rewards important to team members playing particular roles also differ significantly. Gathered qualitative material will help interpreting the results of future quantitiative studies and inspire new hypotheses that can be tested using large datasets.

Although interdisciplinary research has been present in science and the humanities for decades, only recently has it become more and more common in an everyday scholars’ experience. The general shift towards interdisciplinarity was captured in the mid 90’s (Gibbons, 1994), but lately it has been increasingly fostered by individual, technical, and institutional factors. Researchers might perceive interdisciplinarity as a tool to look for new questions or new methods. The rapid growth of technology offers novel ways to gather, compute and analyse data, which are applied in many disciplines. The funding agencies see interdisciplinary research as a way to face the most challenging issues of our time. On the other hand, engaging in interdisciplinary research might imply a wide range of difficulties from a team design to getting funding and a proper outcome evaluation. These conditions might influence individual decisions on if and how to undertake this path. The origins of motivations and incentives (individual vs. institutional) will be tackled in this presentation as the innate, ideational aspects of interdisciplinarity. The other crucial aspect is how the ability to mobilize different types of resources (like skills, expertise, infrastructure) throughout a professional network influence the decision to engage in interdisciplinary research. These two problems will be addressed with data from 30 individual in depth interviews conducted last year among scholars coming from variety of disciplines. The individual stories will allow to reconstruct the types of personal networks, including human and non-human actors and their role in the process of engaging in and conducting interdisciplinary research.

The scholarly collaboration phenomena is relatively well described on macro level, thanks to network analyses based on large bibliographic datasets. Nevertheless, qualitative in depth knowledge about the nature of scholarly collaboration networks going beyond publication matters is scarce. Also the innate, ideational aspects of the phenomena in question remain invisible from this wider perspective. Based on the 30 individual in-depth interviews with Polish scholars we were able to sketch 30 ego-centered networks representing his or her immediate collaborations. Respondents were asked questions like: “Who would you indicate as your collaborator?”, “Do you collaborate with people from other institutions/academic centers/countries?” “How did your collaboration start?” and had an opportunity to freely describe their professional environment. As a result, we were able to outline values, norms and roles standing behind particular networks. Collaborations are mostly in-house, and occur within small research teams supported by relatively few outsiders: students, PhD candidates, visiting scholars, or researchers from outside the institution. We can indicate some factors influencing the structure and dynamics of collaboration networks like the propensity to limit the area of research interests. The sequential design of the research project enables utilization of its initial part to direct future quantitative analyses and improved qualitative studies.

We tackle the problem of identifying pairs of disconnected actors that are likely to form a link in the future. We compare two approaches: (1) several node-proximity methods, based on overlapping neighborhoods, random walks on graph and distances between actors, and (2) estimation of Exponential Random Graph Models, which allows to calculate model-based conditional probability of tie existence. In all cases we select edges, which are the most probable, and compare it to true values. In addition we counted Area Under Curve Measure to asses general performance. The best proximity based method turns out to be the Random Walk with Restart. It performs significantly better than the simplest methods. As for ERGM, the best model consists of following terms: number of edges, number of edges where both nodes have the same affiliation and number of nodes with given degree. ERGM turns out to perform worse than proximity-based methods.

  • Bojanowski M. (2014) Individual Publication Strategies and Collaboration in Authorship: Analysis of Co-authorship Network from a Large University. Presentation at Sunbelt XXXIV conference.

Publications are the main medium of scientific communication. They are the primary way of documenting and communicating research results. Different scientific disciplines developed different norms regarding the utility and function of different types of publications, i.e., journal articles, books, edited volumes, or conference proceedings, etc. Choice of a particular publication types for a stream of individual publications is an element of a broader individual publication strategy. The other element of that strategy is whether these publications, and research they document, are produced in collaboration with others. Scientometric studies report a steadily growing number of co-authored research articles. Co-authorship is an indicator of social relations between scientists: collaboration, but often also authority. Scientific disciplines differ in terms of norms related to co-authorship too. We present a dynamic analysis of co- authorship between the researchers from a large university. The data span 10 years and can be considered complete: contain all relevant publications of about 20+ thousands employees of the university. We investigate dynamic patterns and disciplinary differences in publication strategies in terms of both the structure of co-authorship networks and types of publication.