Global Pathways: Knowledge Diffusion in International Relations Research (DFG-funded)

Director:

Principal Investigators:

Staff:

Student assistants:

  • Gesche Hullmann
  • Felix Mattes
  • Orsina Kather

Partners:

Financial support:

DFG (grant RI 798/11-1)

Term:

July 01, 2017 – June 30, 2019

Contact:

+49 (0)30-838 61466

wiebke.wemheuer-vogelaar@fu-berlin.de

Objectives

The Global Pathways project is a collaboration of scholars from the sociology of science, bibliometrics, and International Relations (IR) based in Germany, the United States, and Japan. The aim of “Global Pathways” is to examine whether and how the social and topical structure of scientific communities affects the diffusion of knowledge within and among these communities in the field of IR. In particular, we want to analyze how various communities relate to each other and identify the mechanisms of knowledge diffusion that operate within and between them (e.g. socialization, information channeling, and innovation).

We contribute to the sociology of science by mapping and explaining the global diffusion of knowledge in one field of the social sciences for the first time, while simultaneously adding empirical evidence to debates in IR about, for example, its stratification into an allegedly “Western” core and “non-Western” peripheries.

The project takes its theoretical departures from Social Identity Theories (SIT), on the one hand, and diffusion approaches, on the other. Based on these two approaches, we ask two interrelated sets of questions:

  1. How are scientific communities within a particular field of the social sciences structured and how is this structure maintained?
  2. How does the structure of scientific communities affect the diffusion of knowledge within this field of the social sciences? What are the mechanisms and what are the effects?

The project uses a multi-method design, integrating data from a multinational survey of IR scholars, journal content and author-CV analysis as well as conference observations and interviews with key stakeholders in the process of knowledge diffusion (“knowledge brokers”). We will also collect data on citation patterns to measure both the structuration of IR communities and the patterns of knowledge diffusion. In contrast to past citation-based studies – in and beyond IR – we will not rely exclusively on the Web of Science (WoS) for data collection purposes but will collect citations information that goes beyond the Web’s core collection and register it in a new database that combines WoS with non-WoS data. That way we cover information flows from and to WoS and non-WoS journals, creating a uniquely complete map of scholarly communication for the field of IR.

 

Scope

The project covers 19 IR journals published in 15 different countries and 8 different languages. Our selected countries are located in Latin America, East Asia, Western Europe, and North America.

Case selection for the analysis of community structures (the community size mentioned in the brackets is based on the countries’ IR populations according to the 2014 TRIP Faculty Survey)

 

Dominant language in IR academia

Community size

 

English

Other

Large

Europe: UK (1275)

Asia: -

Latin America: -

Other: USA (4188)

Europe: Germany (513), France (282)

Asia: Japan (400+), China (1300+)

Latin America: Mexico (284), Brazil (321)

Other: -

Small

Europe: Netherlands (104)

Asia: Singapore (72)

Latin America: -

Other: South Africa (64)

Europe: Italy (148)

Asia: Taiwan (164)

Latin America: Chile (33)

Other: -

Journal selection with country and language of publication

Journal title

Country

Language

Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen

Germany

German

Acta Politica

Netherlands

English

Millennium

UK

English

British Journal of Political Science

UK

English

South African Journal of International Affairs

South Africa

English

Contemporary Southeast Asia

Singapore

English

Politique Etrangère

France

French

Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica

Italy

Italian/English

International Relations of the Asia Pacific

Japan

English

Kokusai Seiji

Japan

Japanese

Revista Brasileira de Politica Internacional

Brazil

Portuguese/Spanish

World Economics and Politics

China

Chinese

Chinese Journal for International Politics

China

English

Issues and Studies

Taiwan

English

Wenti yu Yanjiu

Taiwan

Chinese

Foro Internacional

Mexico

Spanish

Estudios Internacionales

Chile

Spanish

European Journal of International Relations

Europe

English

International Studies Quarterly

USA

English

 

Interdisciplinary set up

One of the project’s key features is its interdisciplinary composition and set-up. For the first time, we have brought together IR scholars with experts in the fields of sociology of science and bibliometrics. This collaboration across disciplinary borders brings advantages to all parties involved: while the sociology of science and bibliometrics are usually restricted to studying unfamiliar disciplines (also often those affiliated with the natural sciences), "Global Pathways" offers an opportunity to use rich empirical data about the actual content of the discipline alongside more traditionally relied-upon bibliographic data. Those data come in the form of our content analysis and the TRIP survey, and are accompanied by the expertise provided by the IR-members of our research team. The IR side, on the other hand, profits from the other team members’ experience in studying processes of knowledge production and their methodological toolset for the analysis of bibliographic information. Our collective focus on knowledge diffusion, on the other hand, will create insights that are new to and relevant for all three disciplines involved.

 

History

Global Pathways started as a spin-off of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia). Between 2013 and 2017, the project focused on the advancement of student research in the study of global IR scholarship. During this early phase, large portions of our datasets on Chinese and Latin American IR were developed. During that time, the project received funding from the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations, the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence, and the Reves Center for International Studies (all located at the College of William and Mary).

In Spring 2017, "Global Pathways" moved its center of operations from Williamsburg to Berlin. With support of our current DFG grant and a collaboration with the Kolleg-Forschergruppe “The Transformative Power of Europe,” we have built a three-years project (2016-2019) characterized by a larger geographical coverage and the application of a substantial theoretical framework rooted in IR and the sociology of science.