Dan Wang

Streams of Thought: Research Collaborations and Knowledge Flows in a Leading Research University

Abstract:
We build upon Durkheim's view of organic solidarity by examining research collaborations and knowledge flows at Stanford University between 1997 and 2007. Unlike prior work examining "snapshots" of coauthorship and co-citation networks, we inter-relate research collaborations with a novel measure of knowledge flows in the short-cycled movement of published references from one researcher to another. We describe the degree of organic solidarity and its trajectory during a period of increasing multidisciplinary collaboration, and highlight various factors that are likely to lead to contingencies in knowledge flows outside and within collaborative dyads, including tie salience, team size, indirect ties, intellectual complementarity, and status. Findings indicate that coauthoring is more generative of knowledge flows than other forms of collaboration, and knowledge flows are more likely to emerge from smaller teams of dissimilar colleagues in terms of intellectual, interpersonal, and professional status characteristics. The university can be characterized as an expanding system of exchanges in which coauthoring integrates new members and ideas within an existing hierarchical structure.

Exact Citation:
Wang, Dan. "Streams of Thought: Research Collaborations and Knowledge Flows in a Leading Research University." Columbia Business School, 2013.
Date: 2013