Cerro-L. Structure and development of a virtual research community in regional economics.

Gunther Maier, Sabine Sedlacek, Stan Brunn

Publication: Contribution to conferenceConference paper

Abstract

The public computer network Internet is used intensively in research and scholarly communication. An important tool for the immediate exchange of research ideas and scholarly arguments is e-mail based discussion lists. E-mail messages sent to such a discussion list are distributed automatically to hundreds or even thousands of recipients worldwide. In this paper we discuss the role of e-mail based discussion lists in scholarly communication and analyze the structure and the development of CERRO-L, a Regional Economics oriented discussion list with focus on regional economic development in Central Europe. We will analyze the structure of subscribers and contributors to CERRO-L, and the content of their messages, the major topics, themes, and places (countries and regions) discussed. With this analysis we want to be able to answer questions like the following: "To what extent can e-mail discussion lists tie together research communities?" "How stable are such communities?"; "Can e-mail discussion lists help overcome some of the limitations (spatial, cultural, language) of more traditional means of scholarly discussion?"; "How focused are discussions on e-mail based discussion lists?"; "What does electronic communication portend about scholarly exchanges and communities?"; "What are the impacts of such communication on the formation, structure, and dissemination of knowledge itself?" (authors' abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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