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Research Thesis Topic

Behaviour and Practices in Academic Social Networks

Topic ID

Thesis Topic/Title
Behaviour and Practices in Academic Social Networks


Academic Social Networks (ASN) offer more and more social information about researchers. Reversely, researchers can provide social information about themselves and even about other peers. The services and benefits of ASN are discussed controversially. On the one hand, they allow boundless, time-and location-independent exchange, communication and collaboration between researchers as well as the option to get open access to literature. On the other hand, scientists seem to be forced to engage in ASN and are measured on their activities in those networks. Both aspects influence researchers’ behaviours and thus their research practices. In addition, those services constantly collect social information about researchers. It has to be analysed in which way this data influences human information dynamics in communities as well as research practices more specifically, and in which way the structure of academic networks influences those processes. The aim is to get a better understanding of how digital networks influence researchers and their scientific work and how this influence changes research behaviour. These results are central to be able to forecast future developments in academic practices.
Research Questions are:
1. How do Academic Social Networks (ASN) influence researchers’ behaviour and practice?
2. How do ASN change the way researchers communicate and collaborate?
3. How are researchers be valued/be evaluated in ASN?
4. How do ASN influence research outcomes?
Related References
Alheyasat, O. (2015). Examination expertise sharing in academic social networks using graphs - The case of ResearchGate. Contemporary Engineering Sciences, 8, 137-151. doi:10.12988/ces.2015.515
Friesike, S.; Widenmayer, B.; Gassmann, O.; & Schildhauer, T. (2015). Opening science: towards an agenda of open science in academia and industry. The Journal of Technology Transfer 40 (4), 581–601.
Jeng, W., DesAutels, S., He, D., & Li, L. (2016). Information exchange on an academic social networking site: A multidiscipline comparison on researchgate Q&A. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. doi:10.1002/asi.23692
Megwalu, A. (2015). Academic social networking: A case study on users’ information behavior. Advances in Librarianship, 39, 185–214. doi:10.1108/S0065-283020150000039014
Tabak, E.; Willson, M. (2012). A non-linear model of information sharing practices in academic communities. Library & Information Science Research 34 (2), 110–116.
Talja, S. (2002). Information sharing in academic communities: types and levels of collaboration in information seeking and use, 3, 143-159.
Utz, S. & Muscanell, N. (2016). Pushing Altmetrics into researchers’ feed: Effects on emotion and motivation. Poster presentation at Science 2.0 Conference, May 3-4 16 Cologne, Germany. Retrieved May 30th 16 from
Van Noorden, R. (2014). Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature 512,

Principal Supervisor

Associate Supervisors

Research Affiliations
  • Australian Digital Futures Institute

Field of Research
  • Library and Information Studies

Application Open Date

Application Close Date

USQ Scholarship Applications

Pre-approved for Ethics

Admission Requirements

Please review the admission requirements for the academic program associated with this Thesis Topic

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