Social Sciences

Relational quality: developing quality through collaborative networks and collaboration portfolios (Q-KNOW)

Research collaborations play a major role in the quality of science. The University of Luxembourg, together with the University of Mannheim and the University of Hannover, seeks to understand how collaborations, networks and organizational structures influence the development of science.

How does the quality of science develop through research collaborations? The Q-KNOW project addresses this key question by analysing co-authored papers published across all research organizations from 1900 to 2020 and, at the same time, is developing a unique bibliometric dataset based on the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) produced by Clarivate Analytics.
Extending the SPHERE project (Science Production, Higher Education Research and Development and the Knowledge Society), Q-KNOW comparatively and historically charts the massive expansion of science production worldwide.

Decoding the black box

The project investigates the way scientific publication patterns advanced according to the proportion and impact of interorganizational collaborative networks that depend on collaboration portfolios within German organizations (and all partner organizations worldwide). The Q-KNOW project seeks to understand how these patterns are leveraged to enhance scientific quality at organization level. The project aims to address the significant black box of science production.

Three pillars of research

Q-KNOW, itself the product of a research collaboration, is an interdisciplinary project on which the University of Luxembourg collaborates with the Universities of Hannover and Mannheim.
Each organization manages its own subproject.
The subproject of the University of Luxembourg, Development of Collaborations, examines the way relational quality developed through collaborations in Germany between 1900 and 2020. We show that co-authorships have become the standard form of publication worldwide, across disciplines and organizational forms. The exponential growth of scientific production is being driven by a similar expansion of scientific collaboration.
The subproject of the University of Mannheim, Network Analyses, investigates the influence of the development of interorganizational collaboration networks on quantitative indicators of research quality. Diverse network analyses lead to a better understanding of developments in Germany (and worldwide).
The subproject of the University of Hannover, Organizational Case Studies, analyses the organizational conditions and discipline-specific understanding of the quality of selected collaboration portfolios. We create profiles of organizational development, governance, cultural orientation, and disciplinary profiles and thematic foci of each organization. We gather profiles of organizational facilitating conditions as well as discipline-specific understanding of relational quality.

Contribution to research policy

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds this international, interdisciplinary collaborative research project. This enables Dr. Jennifer Dusdal and Professor Justin JW Powell to continue their unique research into science production, (inter)national co-authorships and scientific networks, together with Professor Anna Kosmützky (LCSS, U. Hannover) and Dr. Achim Oberg (U. Mannheim). Our findings will lead to systemic and organizational recommendations for multiple levels of research policymaking (published on a Q-KNOW website as interactive density maps).

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