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

Social Sciences and Humanities

Researchers from the Social Sciences and Humanities, interviewed in Portugal, (SSH-Pt), told that their research center has been international since its inception. The research network comes into being through international contacts among researchers from different countries.

For example, they say that this center began to be thought based on similar ones in countries like the Netherlands, for example. The researchers who originally formed the group belonged to universities in different cities. And the group was constituted initially by managers dedicated to the topic of higher education and scholar’s group members that directly led their research efforts to organizational management, financial management, and also sociology, politics, business, and economics of higher education. They say that, in their experience, research groups created a multidisciplinary matrix, which advances toward transdisciplinarity.

Moreover, the groups come from a subject of research that follows the orientation of the main leader. Often, research groups come from hybrid brands by pursuing different disciplinary interests. The research focus was highlighted as another feature that stimulates the formation of networks. This feature is organizational and enables the group to diversify lines of research to best suit their interests. The diversification, being organizational, is also epistemological and will impact the coauthorships networks that are established within these groups.

Portuguese researchers say connections that structure networks arise from doctoral studies in other countries in Europe in reference centers. The networks are also settled in the international matrix dimension with the collaboration in European projects among different centers, stimulated by a kind of organization of networks of European centers in which run several research teams working with comparative studies ofcountries under comparative methodologies. They say that networking was stimulated by the European Union and FCT National Agency, the entities that funded their projects. At the same time, respondents were pragmatic on affirming that the internationalization of the group was intentionally sought for publication in languages other than Portuguese. Namely the researchers sought to publish in English in high-impact factor journals.

They cite the financing and organization of international thematic seminars to study certain topics as important for the consolidation and development of research groups and networks. These events are scheduled in advance of research meetings of various countries to address issues that are criticized and reviewed among peers, members of the group, and their international partners. From each event comes a new publication polished by the discussion held. The event’s participants may be international guest editors. However, they emphasized that the affinities between the country’s researchers and foreign researchers, and personal relationships have been the starting point that favors publications and gives visibility to the networks and their research.

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