Personal Networks in Consolidation and Transience of Research Networks
Béatrice Milard, Yoann PitarchLittle research has been conducted on personal networks involved in scientific communities. Do the interpersonal relationships among researchers play a role in the dynamics of research networks? And what issue does it raise for science organization?
To address this question, we use an original method that combines scientific literature as a source, interviews with researchers and indicators of personal networks.
Based on more than a hundred micro case studies (at the publication scale), the approach is to 1) capture the dynamics of the scientific movement around a given scientific publication; 2) consider the personal network of the main author with the authors intellectually close to him/her; 3) characterize, compare and explaining the various dynamics according the publications’ contexts.
Our study is based on 102 publications, in biology (27), mathematic (23), economics (33) and sociology (19), all extracted from the Web Of Science; 56 interviews with their principal author (located in various French cities); 102 personal networks of the principal author with the authors he/she cited (3,433 relations in the total) ; 102 networks of publications that share at least 3 references with each 102 publications under study (18,718 publications in the total).
After explaining their construction, we will present the main characteristics of the 102 personal networks and their structures. Then we propose a typology reflecting their diversity regarding their structural changing. We analyze the correlations of the 102 networks with 1) the characteristics of the article under study, its author(s) and the publications that cite the same references; 2) the author's personal network with the cited authors and authors who cite the same references; 3) the scientific and social circumstances of the publication.