International Scholar Collaborates with SLIS Faculty
The China Scholarship Council (CSC) is sponsoring a visiting scholar from China to research scientific collaboration and academic information behavior at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).
Weiwei Yan, Ph.D., comes from Wuhan University’s School of Information Management, where he has served as a lecturer at the school’s Department of Information System & Electronic Commerce. Yan will work with SLIS Professor Yin Zhang, Ph.D., who also graduated from Wuhan University.
Wuhan University has a long history of cooperation with Kent State SLIS. Wuhan University is one of the top 10 universities in China, and its School of Information Management is first in the nation. Kent State SLIS has hosted several visiting scholars from Wuhan University since the 1990s. Yan cites the relationship between the two universities and Kent State’s ranking as reasons to complete his visiting scholar program here.
The process of becoming a visiting scholar requires applicants to go through several steps in order to be accepted. First, visiting scholars must initiate the contact with a hosting institution and faculty member. Then, they apply for and receive funding from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for their visit. After their acceptance, visiting scholars will collaborate with the host faculty member and other faculty on research projects of common interest. Visiting scholars are required by their home institution and the funding agency to publish in research journals ranked and collected in Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) database.
Zhang says Yan will learn new methods and research tools for data collection and analysis, while also attending events and activities on campus and conferences in the field.
“Like other scholars, the major goal for Dr. Yan is to publish research papers in the SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) ranked journals,” Zhang said. “It is required for faculty promotions and academic credential reviews.”
While at Kent State, Yan will analyze scientific collaboration behavior, as well as how library services can support and improve scientific collaboration performance in scientific research. The main goal of his research is to study how scholars collaborate for research and how they use academic social network sites to connect and collaborate.
Additional planned projects include focusing on how researchers look for and build research networks, and what the research networks require of individuals, institutions and disciplines.
Zhang added that she is eager to bring cultural factors into consideration when comparing research networks. One of the questions to be answered in the research is if Chinese scholars use the academic social network sites in the same way their U.S counterparts do, to connect and collaborate with other scholars. The research is even more challenging to complete, as Zhang says that while the visiting scholars are gifted researchers, many of them have never written or published papers in English before.
Yan has previously researched collaborative innovation, information behavior of digital library users and network users. He also has participated in some academic projects and published many papers on these topics.
Yan and Zhang have expressed their excitement and gratitude to work together.
“It has been very productive,” Zhang said. “We hold weekly meetings to discuss various research issues, explore related literature, define research questions and formulate data collection and analysis plans.”
Yan and Zhang worked together previously, when they co-published a paper titled “Factors influencing the intention to use information service mashup: An empirical study of digital library in China, (2016)” in The Electronic Library earlier this year.
“Dr. Zhang has broad academic views and professional academic research abilities. She is very careful on doing research, especially about data collecting and data analysis. I have learned a lot from working alongside her,” Yan added.
Photo: Professor Hongshan Li, Ph.D., Department of History; Professors Marcia Zeng, Ph.D., and Yin Zhang, Ph.D., School of Library and Information Science; Assistant Professor Xinyue Ye, Ph.D., Department of Geography; Tao Hu, Ph.D., School of Library and Information Science post-doctoral fellow; and Weiwei Yan, Ph.D., School of Library and Information Science visiting scholar