Knowledge Translation and Network Growth: The Knight Research Network in Its Third Year

Posted: 15 May 2024 Last revised: 19 May 2024

Date Written: December 15, 2023

Abstract

This report evaluates the Knight Research Network (KRN), a national community comprised of dozens of academic and civil society research institutions, in its third year. KRN institutions produced more research, became more connected and produced much greater impact compared to its first two years, suggesting a good growth trajectory across a variety of metrics. The number of authors collaborating with others in KRN increased by 26% year-over-year, and the number of connections among all network authors increased by 35%. In Year 3, network researchers participated in or hosted more than 900 speaking engagements in various venues, and they testified before Congress fifteen times. Further, KRN’s researchers have received validation from critical societal institutions in the network’s third year. The media regularly relies on KRN researchers, having mentioned or involved them in more than 1,400 written, audio or video media pieces across 690 unique media outlets or affiliates. And the federal government has recognized the value of three seminal KRN research institutions—University of Wisconsin at Madison; University of Washington; and George Washington University—by awarding each of them $5 million grants from the National Science Foundation.

Researchers are beginning to come to consensus around the effects on democracy of widespread social media use, strategies for detecting problematic aspects of the information ecosystem and scientifically accurate ways to get data from platforms and media companies that can be used by researchers. Scholarship is accumulating that demonstrates that interventions by social platforms can be effective (although effects may be small), that small groups bear many of the greatest harms online and that addressing misinformation requires a multi-layered approach that extends beyond social media. New evidence is being produced regularly in such areas. Even between the time of data collection for this assessment and its publication, a major research partnership led in part by KRN grantees and researchers at Meta released new findings that add to general understanding of online information consumption in relation to the potential polarization of platform users, among other issues.

Keywords: internet studies, social media, technology research, misinformation, disinformation, research networks, computational social science, philanthropy, evaluation and learning, communities of practice

JEL Classification: Z18

Suggested Citation

Wihbey, John, Knowledge Translation and Network Growth: The Knight Research Network in Its Third Year (December 15, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4826498

John Wihbey (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

School of Journalism; Ethics Institute
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Boston, MA Massachusetts 02115
United States

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