Dossou Kpanou, B. & Kelsey, K. (2021). Exploring the dynamics of a long-term research network. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(3), 104-120. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.03104
Studying the functionality and dynamism of long-term research networks makes it possible to discover underlying collaborative strategies and outcomes, including research productivity. Using a mixed-methods approach, we employed social network analysis (SNA) technique, original network indices, and qualitative interviews to operationalize the network dynamism of an entomology research team by explaining its reconfigurations over time. The study focused on a sub-network composed of researchers and Extension specialists who remained in the network through three successive reconfigurations over seven years. Network indicators revealed an increasingly connected structure for the sub-network after each project reconfiguration, while network indices revealed the dynamism of the overall research network. Dynamism was based upon the movement of team members in and out the network. Team members’ movement in and out of the network was motivated primarily by their interest in investigating the same phenomena. We concluded that long-term scientific collaborations are governed by team members’ scientific goals and professional desire for productivity, while geographic closeness and friendships were less important variables for continuing collaboration.