Careers, Dissemination

Contesting boundaries: researcher networks as inclusive & exclusive spaces

From Vitae

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The creation of a ‘Toolbox for Developing and Sustaining Effective Researcher Networks’ has drawn on initial thematic analysis of a dataset comprising examples of practice from a range of international researcher networks, new and established.

Researcher networks exist in a multitude of forms, at a range of scales, with a variety of purposes and membership size. However, there is often little reflection on what being ‘membership-led’ means in terms of researcher networks as ‘spaces of inclusion and exclusion’. The notion of exclusive membership is commonly associated with a sense of privilege, which raises questions around access and participation in the context of researcher networks and the Researcher Development Concordat’s ambition of ensuring people and ideas flow freely through the research system. 

The creation of a ‘Toolbox for Developing and Sustaining Effective Researcher Networks’ has drawn on initial thematic analysis of a dataset comprising examples of practice from a range of international researcher networks, new and established. It has enabled us, as members of Vitae’s Researcher Networks working group, to reflect on the boundaries that are established or emerge during the development and continuation of networks.  

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