Changing ties in a far-flung, multidisciplinary research network: The case of GRAND


Barry Wellman
NetLab Network,
Faculty of Information (iSchool),

University of Toronto, Canada


We study a multidisciplinary, geographically dispersed, and multi-institutional research network that shows the complex relationships in collaborative research. While collaborative work ties declined, the number of friendship and advice ties stayed stable and acquaintanceship ties grew. Most researchers seem satisfied with the network and relish the opportunities for cross-disciplinary exchanges. The benefits of the network do not lie in the traditional academic output of publications and artifacts, but in intellectual exchanges, knowledge transfer, fostering long-term ties within and across disciplines and universities, and the development of a collaborative culture.


  • This paper is co-authored by Prof. Barry Wellman; Dimitrina Dimitrova, Sociologist and Diana Mok, Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario.