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Journal Article:

Author(s) :


Caldas, A.

Date of Publication :



Article Title :


Are newsgroups extending "invisible colleges" into the digital infrastructure of science?

Journal Title :


Economics of Innovation and New Technology

Volume ID :



Pages(s) :



Abstract :


This paper contributes to the debate on the influence of electronic communication on the informal exchange of information among scientists and practitioners. The research is focused on an empirical analysis of three specialised Newsgroups in "speech technology" (comp.speech, comp.speech.research and comp.speech.users), over the period 1992-2000. Looking at these discussion forums as electronic systems of social interaction, it is appropriate to ask whether they are extending the traditional social networks of "invisible colleges" into the digital age? This paper concludes that this is indeed occurring. First, to a significant extent these electronic environments support international and inter-sectoral remote collaboration. Secondly, these forums support the creation of key properties of "invisible colleges", persistent interaction among peers and a "division of labour" in the accumulation of expertise. Both of these properties are supported by a longitudinal network analysis of the forums.

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