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2007/2008 Emerald Research Fund Awards: Indian LIS category


Supporting the dissemination of knowledge for social good in India

Announcing the winning proposal

Emerald is delighted to announce the winner of the 2007/2008 Emerald Research Fund Awards: Indian LIS category.

From a field of 24 outstanding research proposals, the winning research was:

"Networks and Turning Points: An Exploration of the Dynamics of Academic Networks and Social Movements in India"
by
Shalini R. Urs
University of Mysore, Manasagangotri

Shalini R. Urs

Emerald is proud to offer a grant of £2,000 (approx. US$4,000 equivalent) for this Indian project in the field of library and information science and would like to thank all applicants for their proposals. It is a shame that there can only be one winner.

Summary

A new science of networks has emerged in the recent past. The study of networks is based on solid theoretical foundations built on long traditions in, as diverse disciplines as sociology and mathematics. Thanks to powerful computing facilities and availability of huge datasets, researchers from mathematics, biology, and the social sciences have made enormous strides on a number of intractable problems, introducing new techniques, and uncovering connections between seemingly different issues and problems. The international best seller Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell has turned the concept of impact of social networks into folklore.

A social network is a collection of people, each of whom is acquainted with some subset of the others. Social networks are of importance because they impact the spread of information, ideas, and thereby policy and action, and sometime leading to social movements. The contemporary analytical methods and sophisticated tools commonly known as Social Network Analysis (SNA) drawn from statistical physics and probability, is a useful tool for evaluating the extent and intensity of social relationships among individuals and organisations making up the network. SNA has been used to study everything from "political power" to the "spread of viruses" to "terrorism" to "spread of innovation".

By measuring the patterns of interaction and communication among members of a network, one can uncover the origins of ideas, certain social behaviours and decision making. Studies have been carried out to assess the relationship between network dynamics and community “readiness” to engage in social change processes.

This project will investigate the networks of "academic community", "the activist community" and the "policy making community" in the specific area of "globalization and development". The objective is to identify the major actors in the three communities and discover the connections between them. We hypothesize that these connections reveal the spread of ideas, paths of access and centers of influence. The network structure and dynamics of these three networks in this specific domain would be studied using SNA tools and metrics such as "centrality"; "components"; "cohesion"; "density"; "geodesic"; and "ego networks".

The overarching purport is to demonstrate the power of "dissemination of ideas" to social change by tracing the "connections" of specific social networks, and the paths between networks of people, their circle of influence to social movements against globalization. There is increasing interest linking the distribution of cultural ideas and practices to social communities. The argument is that while predicting the specific content of ideas is often not possible, we can link the shape of an idea space to the structure of a network.

Building on the available evidence of the versatility of the SNA for assessing the effects of collaborations in different social settings and their impact on societal policies and social change, this study is expected to provide empirical evidence, and theoretical framework for strategizing for directing social change. Stated simply, to show that it is the people who move societies and not just principles.

Judging panel

Emerald would like to thank the following judges who carried out the difficult task of judging the many high quality submissions we received:

  • H. Anil Kumar
    Librarian and Head NICMAN, Indian Institute of Management, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad
  • Dr T.S. Kumbar
    Librarian, DAIICT, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Testimonials

"Winning the 2007/2008 Emerald Research Fund Award: Indian LIS category has been a very exciting and prestigious milestone in my career for me. Being a winner always gives you a sense of achievement and endorsement. The funding and the recognition are both critical for the success and impact of our study. Being an information scientist, I take a 360-degree view of information and study information life-cycles from different perspectives. I have ventured into working on social network analysis (SNA) over the last 2-3 years, through various academic pursuits such as organizing an international conference (www.infovision2007.org) and working with a doctoral student and writing papers. The domain of SNA is a fascinating area of study and the development of web 2.0 technologies has further deepened, broadened and strengthened its application areas. This Emerald award will further augment our research efforts in this area. Our winning proposal 'Networks and turning points: an exploration of the dynamics of academic networks and social movements in India’ is essentially a pilot project to explore the linkages between scholarship and activism in the area of ‘globalization’. We plan to carry out an empirical study using SNA tools and approaches. I commend the efforts of Emerald in encouraging and supporting research through this award. I truly believe that such research funding and recognition help strengthen academic research in many different ways."
(Shalini R. Urs, University of Mysore, Manasagangotri)

"I was delighted to be a part of the judging process along with Dr. Kumbar. The quality of proposals received was good. The processing of selecting one out the last three was really tough. I would like to add here that this initiative of Emerald Publishing is commendable and wish that library professionals use this opportunity to churn out quality LIS research. I would take this opportunity to request Emerald to increase research funding to at least three LIS proposals in the coming years."
(H. Anil Kumar, Librarian and Head NICMAN, Indian Institute of Management, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad)

"I was indeed very happy to be given the task of evaluating the proposals and recommending the suitable ones for the award. It was not all that easy to select and recommend one for funding, as we had a few very good proposals. It is so encouraging to see Emerald coming forward to fund research proposals in library services area. I am sure this award will begin to attract more and more proposals in the coming years and Emerald will come forward to support more than one proposal."
(Dr T S Kumbar, Resource Centre, DA-IICT, Gandhinagar, India)

Contact details

For further information about Emerald's Research Fund Awards, please contact:

Kieran Booluck
Author Relations Administrative Assistant

Emerald Publishing Limited
Howard House
Wagon Lane
Bingley BD16 1WA
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1274 777700
Fax: +44 (0)1274 785200
E-mail: [email protected]