My co-authored article with Peter Cruickshank and Bruce Ryan ‘Long-term community development within a researcher network: a social network analysis of the DREaM project cadre’ is now available from Emerald as an EarlyCite paper for Journal of Documentation. Those with subscription access can download the full pdf. There is also a full text version available to view free of charge.
In the article we present the results from a study that investigated the extent to which an intervention to develop a community of library and information science (LIS) researchers – the Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project – was successful in meeting its main objective three years after its implementation. Of particular interest are factors that support or hinder network longevity.
We report that members of the Developing Research Excellence and Methods ‘workshop cadre’ established in 2011 continued to work as a loose, but persistent, network in which social ties had assumed greater importance than work ties, and with academics and researchers at its core. We also note that the job status of individuals in the DREaM network did not have an impact on their position in the community (for example at the centre, or at the periphery), and that physical proximity is important to the maintenance of network ties.
We also make some practical recommendations in the article. Of importance to future funded initiatives such as the DREaM project is that social infrastructure is key to the long-term health of a network initiative, and continued ad hoc support would strengthen it further.