Communication Norms and the Collective Cognitive Performance of “Invisible Colleges”

Conference paper


Scientific research communities may be studied as social networks within which ideas or statements circulate, acquire validity as reliable knowledge, and are recombined to generate further new ideas. Social networks also form the locus for the transmission of tacit knowledge and skills requisite to the interpretation and operationalization of scientific statements. These extensive, yet informal structures of inter-personal knowledge-transactions have been referred to as constituting “invisible colleges”. This paper develops an abstract and highly stylized account of the communications structure of an invisible college, and examines its collective epistemological performance by employing concepts and results from Markov random field theory.


Social Network Tacit Knowledge Local Network Markov Random Field Scientific Statement 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.All Souls CollegeOxford and Stanford UniversityUK

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