Networks of Trust:
Will the New Social Media Change Global Science?

6th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities

21 – 23 October 2012, Berlin


At the beginning of the 21st century, academic networking seems more important than ever before: as many of the ‘grand challenges’ the world is facing today have scientific dimensions, international research collaboration is often seen as critical to finding sustainable solutions to global problems. As a diplomacy of trust, scientific networking and academic exchange not only enhance the capacity of societies to address these problems, but also foster international cultural dialogue with people sharing both scientific data and results as well as values. At the same time, fostering networks often also is in the interest of a researcher’s personal career development.

Participants at the Sixth Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities
6th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and
Humanities, Berlin

Photo: Humboldt Foundation/David Ausserhofer

Whether driven by the ‘grand challenges’ or underpinned by historical connections, expanding academic networks or personal motives, international scientific collaboration itself is undergoing profound change at the moment. The internet and, in particular, the rise of social media and social networks have contributed hugely to globalization. As virtual networks span the globe, rapid advances in communication technology may not only change the ways new knowledge is being disseminated, but soon also alter the very nature of how science is actually done and organized, and how scientists collaborate in the future.

The 6th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities looked into the future and very nature of research collaboration and academic networking in the 21st century. How will the new social media change scholarly communication? What will be the impact of new social networks on international research collaboration and traditional networking? What will be the benefit both with regard to the solution of scientific problems as well as the individual researcher’s career development? Tapping into global academic networks, high-ranking representatives from science and science policy, research funding and administration, as well as leading international experts discussed chances and limitations of new social media, as well as the means and tools to make social scientific networks attractive and effective.

The Forum’s goal was for participants to gain a better understanding both of the significance of social networking for global science and, in more general terms, of the future of international research collaboration in the era of globalization.


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Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities

International Advisory Board


Frank Albrecht
Senior Coordinator
Strategic Planning Division
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn

Phone: +49 (228) 833 122

Dr. Martin Schaffartzik
Program Director
Strategic Planning Division

Dr. Barbara Sheldon
Head of
Strategic Planning Division