Team formation and performance on nanoHub: A network selection challenge in scientific communities

Drew Margolin, Katherine Ognyanova, Meikuan Huang, Yun Huang, Noshir Contractor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This study proposes a rationale by which researchers can use network analysis tools to improve policies and guidelines for the formation of teams within a particular community. The study begins by defining voluntary collaborative project teams (VCPTs) as teams where members have semi-autonomous discretion over whether to join or participate. It is argued that, with reference to VCPTs, those making policies or guidelines appear to face both an information disadvantage and possess an information advantage relative to individual team members, stemming from differing positions regarding emergent qualities of teams. While team members have access to team-specific information, policy-makers can use information regarding norms within the community as a whole. It is then argued that network analysis is a useful tool for uncovering these community-wide tendencies. An example analysis is then performed using exponential random graph modeling of a network to uncover the underlying logics of team construction within, an online community that fosters collaboration amongst nanoscientists. Results suggest that the technique is promising, as a normative tendency which undermines team performance is uncovered. Introduction As many industries migrate towards a network-based production implemented by short-term, fluid teams which are permeable, interconnected, and modular (Schilling and Steensma, 2001), the performance of teams where members relatively freely choose their collaborators is becoming increasingly important. Settings in which semi-autonomous team assembly is particularly prevalent include the development of software in the open source movement, collaboration in large online multiplayer games, scientific co-authorship, and artistic collaborations (Amaral, 2005; Guimerà et al., 2005; Uzzi and Spiro, 2005).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNetworks in Social Policy Problems
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511842481
ISBN (Print)9781107009837
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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