Dynamics of knowledge creation in global participatory science communities: open innovation communities from a network perspective

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Abstract

Significant attention has been given to advancing cyber-infrastructures to support virtual engineering and science communities based on the proposition that virtual organizations can more effectively create and leverage knowledge due to diverse information, skills, and resources to enhance capacity to innovate. Yet, relatively little is known about desirable organizing processes in virtual open science communities. To this end, a simulation-based exploratory study is conducted to better understand the conditions that confer increased rates of innovation in such socio-technical systems. Three types of open science communities are identified and simulated using agent simulation as a method of inquiry. Simulation results show that centrality, as a measure of degree of connectedness, correlates with innovation output in exploratory and service communities up to a point. Also, utility-oriented communities have social network structures with low density and high centrality, which suggest high potential for innovation.