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Diana Crane - Testing the 'Invisible College' Hypothesis  

2018-02-01 09:01:20|  分类: 博士论文 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Diana Crane - Testing the 'Invisible College' Hypothesis
The term 'invisible colleges' was developed in sociology by Diana Crane based on Derek J. de Solla Price's work on citation networks. She sees it as referring to an elite group of highly productive and mutually interacting scientists in a Research Area (RA) who are at the centre of the formal network of communication among all scientists working in that particular Research Area (RA). 

Diana Crane, in the paper 'Social Structure in a Group of Scientists: Testing the 'Invisible College' Hypothesis,' says that a group of scientists working on a particular RA form a social group that has not been paid much attention primarily because: they are geographically scattered, most scientists do not have more than one or two papers published in a particular RA, the boundaries of RAs themselves is hazy at times, and the participation in these groups is highly voluntary thus making it difficult to study the existence of 'invisible colleges' among members of the scientific community. Crane is, in this paper, trying to see if: 

there exists any sort of social organisation among scientists working in the same Research Area by studying the social ties among scientists who have published in an RA with other scientists who haven't published in the same RA and, 
scientists who have published in the RA can be differentiated by the degree of social participation within the RA. 

She studies a group of rural sociologists involved in 'agricultural innovations' - senior and junior - by using questionnaires and response sheets for information about their references. She tries to establish her understanding of 'invisible colleges' by studying the citation patterns similar to the study made by Price. 

Scientists are part of different networks of communicating with their peers and superiors including informal communication networks and formal networks such as collaboration with other authors, or thesis directors before, during or after one's research. Intellectual linkages often reflect the influences of one scientist on another. Using the information about references and citations received from the rural sociologists, she sets out to map their influences with the help of a matrix developed by James Coleman with the choices received by the author on one axis and the choices made by the author on the other. Continuous multiplication of this matrix will eventually yield all the indirect relationships between scientists in the RA. 

To analyse the direct and indirect relationships between members of different subgroups, Crane divides the group on the basis of productivity and commitment to the RA. With this division, she comes up with five subgroups, 3 based on productivity: 
8 High Producers - those who had published more than 10 papers in the RA.
11 Medium Producers - those who had published between 4 and 10 papers in the RA.
33 Aspirants - those who had published less than 4 papers in the RA.
and 2 based on their commitment to the RA - those who had not continued their research in the RA (it was found that all those had published more than 10 papers continued research in the RA.):
9 Defectors - they had between 4 and 10 papers published in the RA.
86 Transients - they had less than 4 papers published in the RA.
Studying both the choices made by scientists favouring other scientists who had published in their RA and with 'Outsiders', Crane found that the scientists chose both on an almost equal level (49:51 for 'insiders':'outsiders'). However, she found that the 'Outsiders' were less likely to be chosen more than twice (not more than 84% were chosen more than twice) and since only one 'outsider' had their name cited more than ten times, it was not possible for a group of outsiders to influence them as much as their own did. 

Characteristics of Members of Subgroups:
Selection of Group Members versus Outsiders: The 5 subgroups divided based on productivity and commitment were expected to exhibit varying degrees of linkages both with insiders and outsiders. While members of the highly productive group were closely linked with each other and with outsiders, members of another group which was relatively unproductive were not as closely linked with either group.   
Direct and Indirect ties by Subgroups: Choices made by the High Producers and Medium Producers led to them having greater ties with their own members than did the Aspirants. In addition, a high proportion of choices made by members of other subgroups led to the High Producers being placed at the middle of their communication network. The High Producers are also linked through published collaboration to a large number of members in the RA and also influenced many others in their roles as thesis directors. 
Changes in Networks of Social Ties
Over the last few decades, the number of High Producers has increased significantly and so has their proportion in the scientific community. High Producers associate themselves with other High Producers and most of their students become High Producers too. The High Producers place themselves at the centre of the communication network through their high productivity and commitment to developing and making the RA known in the scientific community. 

The type of social organisation one sees in among a group of scientists working in a particular RA can be likened to a social circle. The social circle is not well instituted compared to the bureaucracy or social institutions such as family. Members come together on the basis if their interests rather than their ascribed statuses. Indirect interaction and interaction mediated by common associates is an important part of the social circle and it is not necessary to know a person to be influenced by them. At most, a member of the social circle would know a few other members but never all. The presence of scientists whose high productivity is sufficient for them to attract the attention of those who enter the field, produce a social circle which then plays an important role in the growth of the RA.

The diffusion problem area deals with the diffusion of a sizable number of papers in a RA. A majority of these articles could be published either in a few 'core' journals with the rest scattered among numerous others, or be published in numerous different journals with no relation to each other. Neither scenario would be conducive to the growth of knowledge in that RA for, if there were only a few core researchers producing articles and papers regularly citing each other's work, that would only allow for a restricted view point with each being influenced by the other; it would lead to stagnation of ideas in the field; if scientists and researchers preferred to be isolated and avoided each other's contact, that too would be harmful for the growth of science for many ideas would never come to fruition. 

One of the things that needs to be further studied is the points of intersection between different areas especially if scientists are going to continue moving from one area to another to study related problems. The communication network then has to be traced and the influences form each area have to be analysed further to get a wholesome understanding of the communication among scientists. 

-----------
Diana Crane is a professor emerita of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Diana Crane is a specialist in the sociology of culture, arts, media, and globalization. She has also taught at Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Poitiers (France), Erasmus University (The Netherlands) and Columbia University in Paris. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ), and a visitor at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center (Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy). She has held Fulbright Awards in France and the Netherlands. She was chair of the Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association in 1991-1992. She has been a member of the Advisory Board of Poetics since 1992.
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