Analysis of Collaboration Networks



By mapping the interactions between its agents, we can observe how information flows in the ecosystem. This project attempts to map the research collaboration network on the university's organisational and geographic boundaries. In particular, the project tries to discover which boundaries are "porous" and whether its organisational structure is aligned with the topology of its collaborative research network.

Collaboration and the Boundaries of the Organisation
From time to time, large organisations go through a restructuring phase that requires significant changes to their organisational or geographic makeup. It is important to minimally disrupt the workings of the organisation through these changes, as well as making strategic decisions on how the various boundaries of the organisation should be redrawn. For example, when an organisational unit needs to be spread over several buildings or campuses, what criteria should be used on deciding what goes where? Conversely, if units need to be co-located due to new physical constraints what factors should matter in deciding on their new location?

By studying the academic collaboration networks, we might be able to provide some answers to these questions. In particular, we can study the existing clusters of collaboration, how they are affected by changes in the environment and how they can be motivated to change.

Rationale
Interactions between academic researchers are frequent, albeit often weak and invisible (i.e. informal.) What is significant about weak interactions, however, is that they can give rise to stronger interactions in the form of academic collaborations.

Strong interactions can, therefore, be viewed as the tip of the iceberg of a much more complex web of "weak" interactions. While there is no way for us to capture weak ties as they are usually in stealth (there are no reliable records of them at the system level), it might be possible to capture strong interactions.

Co-authored academic publications are telltale artefacts of academic collaborations. A large number of co-authored publications can reflect a strong and lasting relationship while weak interactions rarely results in any joint work. If this is correct, then it is possible to give a relatively accurate description of the topology of the strong interactions in the environment by looking the artefactual co-authored publications.