From Scientific Knowledge to Policy about Climate Change in the Great Lakes: An Analysis of Two-Mode Networks of Co-authored Documents


Recent work on the knowledge formation of climate change suggests that the set of ideas one holds to be true is influenced by the group of people who interacts with the same social contexts and by the views of authorities recognized by the group. From knowledge formation to political action, the mechanism not only depends upon participators' ability to integrate, but to cooperate with the public interests, policy makers, and other scientists of the verity of these claims.

This study explores how stakeholders in Great Lakes climate change access environmental knowledge in their networks and how that affects their decision-making. In particular, the networks are defined by others who participate in common knowledge building experiences, public policy conferences and the writing of public documents. We employ two mode network analyses to identify clusters of stakeholders who participate in similar sets of events (Field et al., 2006; Frank et al., 2008), and we map the interactions between actor roles (scientist, policy makers, government agencies) and the focal experiences for knowledge formation (public policy events and documents) to understand how participators form their knowledge about climate change and cooperate with other scientists, governmental/ non-governmental agencies, local/ international policy maker to construct scientific consensus. Results indicate that government agencies and academics co-participate in events, but the two groups wrote papers separately. This suggests that government agents and academics are exposed to similar knowledge bases, but construct knowledge in different experiences. We also found evidence that regionally focused organizations participate in different events than national and state agencies, suggesting they access different forms of knowledge.

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