ERIC Number: EJ1143401
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Linking Behavior in the Physics Education Research Coauthorship Network
Anderson, Katharine A.; Crespi, Matthew; Sayre, Eleanor C.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n1 p010121-1-010121-10 Jan-Jun 2017
There is considerable long-term interest in understanding the dynamics of collaboration networks, and how these networks form and evolve over time. Most of the work done on the dynamics of social networks focuses on well-established communities. Work examining emerging social networks is rarer, simply because data are difficult to obtain in real time. In this paper, we use thirty years of data from an emerging scientific community to look at that crucial early stage in the development of a social network. We show that when the field was very young, islands of individual researchers labored in relative isolation, and the coauthorship network was disconnected. Thirty years later, rather than a cluster of individuals, we find a true collaborative community, bound together by a robust collaboration network. However, this change did not take place gradually--the network remained a loose assortment of isolated individuals until the mid 2000s, when those smaller parts suddenly knit themselves together into a single whole. In the rest of this paper, we consider the role of three factors in these observed structural changes: growth, changes in social norms, and the introduction of institutions such as field-specific conferences and journals. We have data from the very earliest years of the field, a period which includes the introduction of two different institutions: the first field-specific conference, and the first field-specific journals. We also identify two relevant behavioral shifts: a discrete increase in coauthorship coincident with the first conference, and a shift among established authors away from collaborating with outsiders, towards collaborating with each other. The interaction of these factors gives us insight into the formation of collaboration networks more broadly.
Descriptors: Physics, Social Networks, Communities of Practice, Network Analysis, Teacher Collaboration, Group Dynamics, Longitudinal Studies, Authors, Social Psychology, Group Behavior, Group Membership
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A