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Title: Social network analysis applied to knowledge creation and transfer in the portuguese agricultural R&D field: an exploratory study
Author: Neto, Miguel de Castro
Correia, Ana Maria R.
Pinto, Pedro
Aguiar, José
Keywords: Knowledge creation
Knowledge sharing
Agriculture R&D
Social network analysis
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: There is growing interest in the nature and scale of scientific collaboration regarding the processes involved with knowledge creation and sharing. One of the possible approaches to developing metrics for this area of research is based on the idea that co-authorship creates a social network of researchers. We present an exploratory study using a social network approach to examine the structure and pattern of knowledge creation and sharing within a Portuguese research community, working in the agricultural field, over the last seven years. The members of this community are with the Instituto Nacional da Investigação Agrária (INIA) which recently became part of a newly created R&D State Laboratory, Instituto Nacional dos Recursos Biológicos (INRB), under the umbrella of the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development and Fisheries. The social network analysis used data from an information system containing the results from all the scientific activities developed in the last seven years by the research community working in INIA. The information system was the major result of AGRO 444 - Development of an Information System for Knowledge and Innovation Discovery and Diffusion in the Agro-Rural Sector, a project funded by Measure 8.1 of Programa AGRO, one of the policy instruments of “3º Quadro Comunitário de Apoio” (Third European Framework Aid to Portugal, 2000-2006). From this data, a knowledge network was developed based on co-authorship patterns extracted from the information system, covering the period 2000-2006. This knowledge network supported the analysis of specific paths through which knowledge sharing occurred and by which knowledge capital was nurtured within the agricultural R&D activities of this institution. The present exploratory study is concerned with the creation and evolution of the network at the biggest research unit within INIA, the Estação Agronómica Nacional (EAN). Here, there are over 140 actors developing research activities in the following sub-domains: natural resources and environment; crops protection; eco-physiology, genetic resources and breeding; production technology; post-harvest technology; and agricultural economics, sociology and development. The study seeks to understand the evolutionary process and to analyse the network structure, showing how knowledge creation and transfer takes place within this unit. The identification of such networked co-authorship relationships may suggest ways to more effectively utilize knowledge capital and other resources. It is also expected that this approach could be used to analyse the remaining six INIA units.
Description: Paper presented at the 9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, Southampton Solent University, Southampton, UK, 4-5 Sep. 2008. URL:
ISBN: 978-1-906638-10-8
Appears in Collections:NIMS: MagIC - Documentos de conferências internacionais

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