Some assembly required: Leveraging Web science to understand and enable team assembly

Noshir Contractor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Recent advances on the Web have generated unprecedented opportunities for individuals around the world to assemble into teams. And yet, because of the Web, the nature of teams and how they are assembled has changed radically. Today, many teams are ad hoc, agile, distributed, transient entities that are assembled from a larger primordial network of relationships within virtual communities. These assemblages possess the potential to unleash the high levels of creativity and innovation necessary for productively addressing many of the daunting challenges confronting contemporary society. This article argues that Web science is particularly well suited to help us realize this potential by making a substantial interdisciplinary intellectual investment in (i) advancing theories that explain our socio-technical motivations to form teams, (ii) the development of new analytic methods and models to untangle the unique influences of these motivations on team assembly, (iii) harvesting, curating and leveraging the digital trace data offered by the Web to test our models, and (iv) implementing recommender systems that use insights gleaned from our richer theoretical understanding of the motivations that lead to effective team assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0385
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1987
StatePublished - Mar 28 2013


  • Algorithms
  • Networks
  • Team assembly
  • Teams
  • Virtual communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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