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Structural holes and new dimensions of distance: the spatial configuration of the scientific knowledge network of China’s optical technology sector


  • Ingo Liefner
  • Stefan Hennemann


This paper analyses the spatial configurations of knowledge networks and their overlap with spatial concentrations, such as urban agglomerations. It proposes a typology of spatial concentrations in knowledge networks, and uses data from academic coauthorships in the field of optical technology and complex network analysis to show how China’s regions and research organisations are located in national and international knowledge exchanges. This spatial representation and analysis of a large-scale knowledge network provide an enhanced view of the quality of network structures. Access to different pools of knowledge is unevenly distributed, allowing some regions to combine knowledge and create learning opportunities that do not stem from a spatial concentration of activity in science, but rather from their positions in the network.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingo Liefner & Stefan Hennemann, 2011. "Structural holes and new dimensions of distance: the spatial configuration of the scientific knowledge network of China’s optical technology sector," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 43(4), pages 810-829, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:43:y:2011:i:4:p:810-829

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Hennemann, 2012. "Evaluating the performance of geographical locations within scientific networks using an aggregation—randomization—re-sampling approach (ARR)," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 63(12), pages 2393-2404, December.
    2. repec:spr:scient:v:111:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2358-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hautala, Johanna & Jauhiainen, Jussi S., 2014. "Spatio-temporal processes of knowledge creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 655-668.
    4. Robert Huggins & Shougui Luo & Piers Thompson, 2014. "The competitiveness of China's Leading Regions: Benchmarking Their Knowledge-based Economies," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(3), pages 241-267, July.
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:94:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0715-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:88:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0410-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hennemann, Stefan & Rybski, Diego & Liefner, Ingo, 2012. "The myth of global science collaboration—Collaboration patterns in epistemic communities," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 217-225.

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