Edited by Franco Malerba and Nicholas S. Vonortas
Chapter 8: Science as a Communications Network: An Illustration of Nanoscale Science Research
8. Science as a communications network: an illustration of nanoscale science research Caroline S. Wagner and Susan A. Mohrman INTRODUCTION 1. Science shares many features with organic, complex adaptive systems. Indeed, it is practical for evaluation purposes to characterize scientific discovery as a network of communications (Hesse, 1974). This is the natural extension of considering science as a system (Von Bertalanffy, 1972), and specifically as a system of communications, as Nicolas Luhmann and others have done (Luhmann, 1986). Those who conduct scientific research organize in response to opportunity, generally created by the possibility of advancement married to funding (Whitley, 1984). Some scientific research is corporately organized, but the majority of research projects self-organize – researchers identify beneficial collaborations and voluntarily form into teams. These self-organizing networks of scientists – often working on projects across geographic or disciplinary boundaries – are the most notable feature of science in the late 2000s. As the scientific knowledge base has grown, it is becoming increasingly difficult for any one researcher to know all the things needed to innovate (Gibbons et al., 1994). The collaborative teams that conduct cooperative research constitute an invisible college of practitioners who collaborate not because they are told to but because they want to, who work together not because they share a laboratory or even a discipline but because they can offer each other complementary insight, knowledge, or skills (Wagner, 2008). Scientific research networks are the artifacts that emerge from these connections among scientists. Networks organize the physical and intellectual churn of researchers...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.