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Home arrow Education arrow Evaluating Collaboration Networks in Higher Education Research: Drivers of Excellence

Network Communities

We live in a connected world, and network communities are important social links! In networks, individuals are known as actors and connections are called ties. There are ties linking actors that interact with each other; ties © The Author(s) 2017

D. Leite, I. Pinho, Evaluating Collaboration Networks in Higher Education Research, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45225-8_3

favor recognition and facilitate the approach of people with similar interests or common interests but different patterns of sociability. Social networking communities are made up of individuals or groups of individuals who are in a relationship with each other connected by the Internet, the World Wide Web, or by Baidu, the Chinese search engine. A wide variety of reasons motivate the formation of networks, such as sharing photos (Instagram), posting information (what are you are thinking at the moment as in Facebook, Twitter), and establishing synchronous communication (WhatsApp Messenger, Skype, Wechat), motivating the formation of these networks. Digital electronic, apparatus and media bring people together. Network communities are then established. By using those media, communities of terror may also cross frontiers. Under the command of groups outside the law, gangs and terrorists plan their noxious actions networking and making them happen in destructive attacks against society. For better or worse, social network communities (SNCs) are crucial and important facts in our lives. Therefore, their study is relevant.

When we talk about SNCs, we refer to a group of people who are more connected among themselves than they are in relation to other groups of people, say Christakis and Fowler (2010, p. 8). As a social construction, networks can be submitted to formal analysis procedures for observing its actors and connections. According to Carolan (2014, p. 7), networks are “typically composed of who knows whom, who is friends with whom or who talks with whom.” Social networks (SNs) may be graphically, visually, and mathematically analyzed by using techniques of social network analysis. This methodological scientific area is strongly growing in recent decades with applications in various fields of science.

Intensive research on networks clarifies differences between communities of SN and communities of research networks (RNs). While the first concept connects people of diverse interests for various purposes, in the latter the communities connect scientists and aspirants to be homo acade- micus, through media and relationships that have one unique denominator in common: the research.

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