Using the Internet for Collaborative Research in Europe – Experiences from the GARNET Virtual Network
vom Brocke, J., Riemer, K., Große-Böckmann, S., & Richter, D.
University research is increasingly organised in inter-organisational networks. As part of its 6th research framework, the European Commission (EC) funded a total of 130 so-called networks of excellence (NoEs), a special kind of instrument with the purpose of strengthening and developing the European research community and scientific and technological excellence by integrating existing and emerging research activities and by exchanging knowledge. In such NoEs electronic cooperation platforms are typically implemented to support collaboration between the individuals from the various research institutions. In this paper we investigate the adoption of a cooperation platform in one NoE case - the GARNET network. We find evidence that the platform is used for administrative purposes and to support the organisation of events. However, a web log analysis reveals a lack of adoption for its key purpose - the support of collaborative research and knowledge exchange. A social network analysis further uncovers that the GARNET network is fragmented on the social level, which points to a misfit between network structure and the positioning of the cooperation platform. Our findings lead us to suggest immediate next steps for this NoE and also point to general implications for network designers and future research in this area.
Research networks; Networks of Excellence (NoE); Cooperation systems; Adoption; Social Network Analysis (SNA)