This paper explores the application of network intervention strategies to the problem of assembling cross-disciplinary scientific teams in academic institutions. In a project supported by the University of Florida (UF) Clinical and Translational Science Institute, we used VIVO, a semantic-web research networking system, to extract the social network of scientific collaborations on publications and awarded grants across all UF colleges and departments. Drawing on the notion of network interventions, we designed an alteration program to add specific edges to the collaboration network, that is, to create specific collaborations between previously unconnected investigators. The missing collaborative links were identified by a number of network criteria to enhance desirable structural properties of individual positions or the network as a whole. We subsequently implemented an online survey (N = 103) that introduced the potential collaborators to each other through their VIVO profiles, and investigated their attitudes toward starting a project together. We discuss the design of the intervention program, the network criteria adopted, and preliminary survey results. The results provide insight into the feasibility of intervention programs on scientific collaboration networks, as well as suggestions on the implementation of such programs to assemble cross-disciplinary scientific teams in CTSA institutions.
Read the full article: https://doi.org/10.1111/cts.12267