Scientists’ Social Capital and Knowledge Creation: The Case Of Translational Research In Biomedicine

10/04/2013 to 12/04/2013
EU-SPRI 2013
The idea that scientific creativity is fostered when scientists work together and combine their knowledge stocks is well established in extant literature (He, Geng, & Campbell-Hunt, 2009; Rigby & Edler, 2005). The social capital perspective has provided valuable insights in exploring the effects of social interactions with others on the creation of knowledge. According to this view, scientists holding certain positions in the network are exposed to new ideas and methods, which provides a crucial information advantage over other actors (Burt, 1995, 2004). This advantage is seen as a critical factor in explaining differences between scientists knowledge creation performance, which is often referred as the network advantage (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). Evidence also reflects that the process of creating new knowledge has become highly collaborative across all scientific fields and in all levels of analysis – individual scientists, groups and regions - (Adams, Black, Clemmons, & Stephan, 2005; Consoli & Ramlogan, 2007; Wagner & Leydesdorff, 2005). Although the benefits of social capital for the production of knowledge seems to be well grounded, studies examining the interplay between social network characteristics and individual features of scientists are few in number.

To address this issue, our study adopts a contingent view to study the relationship between the scientists’ social capital and its impact in knowledge creation. By conceiving the scientists’ network structure as a potential opportunity from which actors may benefit to a greater or lesser extent (Adler & Kwon, 2002), we advocate that the value of ties with others for the production of knowledge depends on the particular ability of each scientist as well as on the nature of knowledge that each particular scientist aims to produce.
Madrid, Spain
Llopis, O; D'Este, P.; Yegros, A.