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Comunicar Journal 41: Black holes of Communication (Vol. 21 - 2013)

Spanish communication academia: Scientific productivity vs. Social activity


At a time when academic activity in the area of communication is principally assessed by the impact of scientific journals, the scientific media and the scientific productivity of researchers, the question arises as to whether social factors condition scientific activity as much as these objective elements. This investigation analyzes the influence of scientific productivity and social activity in the area of communication. We identify a social network of researchers from a compilation of doctoral theses in communication and calculate the scientific production of 180 of the most active researchers who sit on doctoral committees. Social network analysis is then used to study the relations that are formed on these doctoral thesis committees. The results suggest that social factors, rather than individual scientific productivity, positively influence such a key academic and scientific activity as the award of doctoral degrees. Our conclusions point to a disconnection between scientific productivity and the international scope of researchers and their role in the social network. Nevertheless, the consequences of this situation are tempered by the nonhierarchical structure of relations between communication scientists.