A research agenda for the study of entropic social structural evolution, functional roles, adhocratic leadership styles, and credibility in online organizations and knowledge markets
Sorin Adam Matei
KredibleNet Project, White Paper no. 1. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Available at http:/krediblenet/in/research-agenda
The new social media enabled by the Internet and Web have deeply changed the way individuals interact and how knowledge is created and exchanged, which is opening up new interesting research questions for the social sciences. A key question is how the notions of expertise and reputation will evolve as a consequence of the emergence and broad use of these new social media. Addressing such questions is crucial in many different domains, from traditional academic settings and processes (e.g. promotion processes), to research funding (e.g. assessing the impact of research results), homeland security and intelligence (e.g. detecting campaigns aiming at spreading deceiving information), and healthcare. At the same time, the fact that all these social interactions take place on electronic media makes it possible to collect extensive data sets for use in research. A major problem, however, is that just having huge collections of data sets that document in detail all interactions is not sufficient. We also need data management and analytics tools that can support timely, effective, and efficient knowledge extraction processes from all these data. In general, currently available tools have not been designed for dealing with massive social interaction data and in particular are unable to deal with the specific questions concerning expertise and reputation. Understanding which new tools we need and how to design and build these tools requires a broad multi-disciplinary community involving experts from different research communities, including social sciences, computer sciences, and statistics. The goal of the proposed project is thus to develop KredibleNet, a broad multi-disciplinary community focused on researching expertise and reputation in the new social media, and to initiate an effort to design and build new large scale data analysis and management infrastructures supporting this research. In what follows, we present relevant background materials and elaborate on the motivations and the goals of the proposed project, as well as on expected results.