Negotiating knowledge: The role of network hedging in the production of high-impact science


Extant research has shown that advice and collaboration networks that have greater diversity of participants and are richer in structural holes are more conducive to advancing science and innovation. Yet research on network structure and diversity tends to overlook how actors might best utilize their connections. In this study, we seek to unpack variation in how individuals leverage the opportunities afforded by their network, focusing on the scientific knowledge production process. Given the uncertainty faced by scientists during the different stages of the research process, we argue that network hedging—consulting multiple individuals for the same resource need—rather than network compartmentalization—turning to different network contacts for different resource needs—helps scientists produce greater scientific impact. Analyzing granular data on the network mobilization decisions and scientific outputs of a sample of biomedical scientists, we find support for our prediction that network hedging is positively associated with the production of high-impact scientific output, and that this effect is manifest beyond the benefits of being in more diverse or sparser networks.

Sep 8, 2023 3:00 PM — 4:00 PM
QSS talks
Rowe 4025
6100 University Ave, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Adrián A. Díaz-Faes
Adrián A. Díaz-Faes
Senior Researcher, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV)