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Network Analysis of Mass Collaborative Knowledge Artifacts

Knowledge Construction Lab


05/2009 - 04/2014


Leibniz Graduate School for Knowledge Media Research, ScienceCampus Tuebingen


The project aims at explaining how computer-supported collaborative knowledge creation works involving a multitude of people on a global scale. Wikipedia is taken as an example of a Web 2.0 application that facilitates mass collaboration and has enormous impact on the collective human knowledge.

This line of research builds on the theoretical co-evolution model of Cress & Kimmerle (2008) and the empirical findings from laboratory experiments on individual learning and knowledge construction with wikis (e.g. Moskaliuk, Kimmerle, & Cress, 2009). Specialty of the current project is its approach to the field context using Wikipedia log data that is analyzed from the perspective of a socio-cognitive network.
We assume that collective knowledge is an emergent phenomenon characterized by complex processes. Our main questions are: Through which processes is the individual knowledge integrated in the collective knowledge? What are the patterns of its temporal dynamics? What characterizes the Wikipedia contributors driving the collaborative knowledge creation? In order to answer the questions we apply Social Network Analysis (SNA) as our main set of tools as we conceive collaborative knowledge creation an outcome of the interaction of many individuals in a network.

Our first studies take a broad perspective considering the interplay between adjacent knowledge areas. We examined developments of fusion and differentiation of knowledge areas while taking a division of roles among the contributors into account. In subsequent studies, we will investigate the temporal dynamics of knowledge creation in detail. The results will then provide suggestions on how the process of collaborative knowledge creation can be designed and promoted, not only in terms of the collective outcome, but also in order to facilitate as wider and constant participation of the contributors as possible. The practical significance of the project extends to the knowledge processes in the modern society as argued by Scardamalia (2002).

Another ambition of this project is to provide an example for utilizing Social Network Analysis metrics and methodology for psychological research questions that measure up to the complexity of the network-level perspective and are appropriate to knowledge creation as a research topic.


  • Halatchliyski, I., Moskaliuk, J., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (in press). Explaining authors’ contribution to pivotal artifacts during mass collaboration in the Wikipedia’s knowledge base. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.
  • Cress, U., Barron, B., Halatchliyski, I., Oeberst, A., Forte, A., Resnick, M., & Collins, A. (2013). Mass collaboration - an emerging field for CSCL research. In N. Rummel, M. Kapur, N. Nathan, & S. Puntambekar (Eds.), To see the world and a grain of sand: Learning across levels of space, time and scale: CSCL 2013 Proceedings (Vol. I, pp. 557-563). Madison, USA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
  • Halatchliyski, I., Hecking, T., Göhnert, T., & Hoppe, H. U. (2013). Analyzing the flow of ideas and profiles of contributors in an open learning community. In D. Suthers, K. Verbert, E. Duval, & X. Ochoa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK '13 (pp. 66-74). New York: ACM.
  • Halatchliyski, I., Oeberst, A., Bientzle, M., Bokhorst, F., & van Aalst, J. (2012). Unraveling idea development in discourse trajectories. In J. van Aalst, K. Thompson, M. J. Jacobson, & P. Reimann (Eds.), The future of learning: Proceedings of the 10th international conference of the learning sciences (Vol. II, pp. 162-166). Sydney, NSW, Australia: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
  • Halatchliyski, I., Moskaliuk, J., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2010). Who integrates the networks of knowledge in Wikipedia? Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. New York: ACM Press. doi 10.1145/1832772.1832774.