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Q-KNOW - Relational Quality: Developing Quality through Collaborative Networks and Collaboration Portfolios

Developing the quality of science through research collaborations among research-producing organizations in Germany (1900–2020).

Aim of the project

Q-KNOW comparatively and historically charts the massive expansion of science production worldwide, extending the SPHERE project (Science Production, Higher Education Research and Development, and the Knowledge Society) to address the question: How does the quality of science develop through research collaborations? Analyzing co-authored papers published in all research-producing organizations from 1900–2020, we develop a unique bibliometric dataset based on Clarivate Analytics’ Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE). We investigate how scientific publication patterns advanced according to the proportion and impact of interorganizational collaborative networks, depending on collaboration portfolios among organizations in Germany (and all partner organizations worldwide) and how these patterns are leveraged to enhance scientific quality at organizational level. The Q-KNOW project directly addresses this significant black box.

3 pillars of research

Luxemburg’s subproject “Development of Collaborations” examines how relational quality developed through collaborations in Germany between 1900 and 2020. We show that co-authorships have become the standard form of publication worldwide across disciplines and organizational forms. The exponential growth of scientific production is being driven by a similar expansion of scientific collaboration.

Mannheim’s subproject “Network Analyses” investigates the influence of the development of interorganizational collaboration networks on quantitative indicators of research quality. Diverse network analyses enable better understandings of developments in Germany (and globally).

Hannover’s subproject “Organizational Case Studies” analyses the organizational conditions and discipline-specific understandings of quality of selected collaboration portfolios. We create profiles of organizational development, governance, cultural orientation, and disciplinary profile and thematic foci of each organization. We gather profiles of organizational “facilitating conditions” as well as discipline-specific understandings of “relational quality”.

Project partners and scientific outreach

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds this international, interdisciplinary research project in which the University of Luxembourg collaborates with the Universities of Hannover and Mannheim. This enables Dr. Jennifer Dusdal and Professor Justin J.W. Powell to continue their unique research on science production, (inter)national co-authorships, and scientific networks together with Professor Anna Kosmützky (LCSS, U. Hannover) and Dr. Achim Oberg (U. Mannheim). Our findings will enable systemic and organizational recommendations for multiple levels of research policymaking (published on a Q-KNOW website as interactive density maps).    

Q-KNOW Project Workshop 2020

The Q-KNOW project held an international workshop guided by the question: How does the quality of science develop through research collaborations? During this inaugural Q-KNOW project workshop (24/25 September 2020), which was organized virtually by the Luxembourg team, participants with different roles and functions in science, research, and administration discussed innovative funding mechanisms to support researchers in developing their collaborations across boundaries. Participants discussed the importance of organizational support and characteristics of contemporary international and interdisciplinary research collaborations, leading to further questions to be addressed in the Q-KNOW project on relational quality. A summary of the workshop (in German) can be downloaded here

UL members and external partners

UL members

External partners

  • Prof. Dr. Anna Kosmützky, anna.kosmuetzky[@], Leibniz Center for Science and Society, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany, Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Achim Oberg, oberg[@], Institute for SME Research and Entrepreneurship, University of Mannheim, Germany, Principal Investigator