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On the webmetrics of Newsgroups and the formation of electronic “Invisible Colleges”
This paper contributes to the debate of the influence of student's electronic communication on scientific communication. This student's research is focused on the empirical analysis of the human language technologies scientific specialty of “speech technology”. An extended analysis of all the newsgroup activity of three specialised forums (comp.speech, comp.speech.research and comp.speech.users) is presented over the period 1992 - 2000.
If we look at these news discussion forums as electronic systems of social interaction, three particular research questions are of relevance to be tackled here. On the one hand, some of these questions are related with the production of indicators characterising these newsgroups activity - how these systems evolve over time or the growth function of these systems; the pattern of distribution of authors contributions; the pattern of distribution of discussion relevance; the sectoral and geographical pattern of collaboration.
On the other hand, these electronic social systems may or may not support the creation of social circles or “invisible colleges” within these scientific and technical communities, and with special importance is the identification of “who is” contributing to these electronic forums and networks. This analysis should be validated by the network analysis of these systems.
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