Socio-epistemic analysis of scientific knowledge production in little science research

  • Alberto Pepe Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Keywords: social studies of science, laboratory studies, social networks, epistemic networks, socio-epistemic analysis, scientific knowledge production


The processes that drive knowledge production and dissemination in scientific environments are embedded within the social, technical, cultural and epistemic practices of the constituent research communities. This article presents a methodology to unpack specific social and epistemic dimensions of scientific knowledge production using, as a case study,  the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), a National Science Foundation “little science” research center involved in theoretical and applied work in the field of wireless communication and sensor networks. By analysis of its scholarly record, I construct a social network of coauthorship, linking individuals that have coauthored scholarly artifacts (journal articles and conference papers), and an epistemic network of topic co-occurrence, linking concepts and knowledge constructs in the same scholarly artifacts. This article reports on ongoing work directed at the study of the emergence and evolution of these networks of scientific interaction. I present some preliminary results and introduce a socio-epistemic method for an historical analysis of network co-evolution. I outline a research design to support further investigations of knowledge production in scientific circles.

Author Biography

Alberto Pepe, Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Alberto Pepe is a doctoral candidate in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and a graduate research assistant in the statistics and data practices group of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. His research interests revolve around scholarly, scientific and social data. In particular, he currently studies scientific data practices in highly collaborative interdisciplinary research environments via network theory and statistical mechanics. Prior to starting his Ph.D., he developed digital library software and promoted open access among particle physicists at CERN, Switzerland. He also worked in the scientific visualization department of CINECA, the Italian Scientific Consortium, based at the University of Bologna. He holds a M.Sc. in Computer Science and a B.Sc. in Astrophysics, both from University College London, UK.
Special issue: ICTs and Society-Network-PhD Consortium 2010