Reconstructing and constructing social networks


The existence of scientific communities has been a key aspect of social studies of science. The study of scientific communication has elucidated structural aspects of specialist communities.  Outside science studies, in knowledge management for example, the concept community has been used to delineate groups of actors who share views and action frames. Social network approaches have been used to analyze the interaction within communities. Research results from two projects are presented. The first project studied open source software development and marketing.  Through snowballing and interviewing a list of central actors was drawn. The network of heterogeneous actors was derived and it suggests that collective action is important for interest development. The second project was based on the web presence of semantic web researchers; in this project web mining was used to establish both cognitive and social network elements. Social network analysis suggests lessons from both about the communication functions in interest communities. Bringing these approaches together they can be used to build an agenda for developing technology support for expert communities.


Peter Groenewegen,

Bestuur & Organisatie,

Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam