Interview with Marian-Gabriel Hâncean

“Recognizing the effort of a researcher is a very important matter, and research leads to innovation.” This is the key point made by Marian-Gabriel Hâncean during his interview for MediaUB, the University news outlet. In 2017, Gabriel won the award for The most prestigious article in Social Sciences section, given by the Senate members of University of Bucharest. The interview, in Romanian, can be accessed here.

The award was offered for his article “Homophily in co-authorship networks of East European sociologists, published in 2016 in Nature-Scientific Reports. Gabriel talked about how important is social recognition for a researcher, pointing out that in social sciences you can gain visibility generally in two ways: by citation in internationally well-documented journals, and by the impact your research results could have on public policy. He stressed out that it is important to keep in mind that, in fact, it is not the researchers who should receive international recognition, but the results of their work.

Gabriel explained the framework for his article, starting with naming the countries upon he performed the analysis and the scientific domain he was referring to. Romania, Poland and Slovenia were three countries from East Europe he analyzed, all chosen by percentage of GDP given for Research, Development and Innovation sector. Sociologists were in his focus. His analysis points out that there are many practices performed by researchers in order to collaborate. For example, it seems that there is a tendency for visible researchers to collaborate with researchers who in turn also have high visibility, a phenomenon called homophily. On the other hand, there is a tendency for less visible authors to try to co-author with significant researchers in order to benefit from the image of the latter. Looking at Romania, Slovenia and Poland, he observed a mix of practices: on the one hand, the social effect of homophily selection was identified and, on the other hand, the Matthew effect (“the rich become richer”).

Gabriel also talked about his two most important ongoing projects: iCoNic (implemented together with GraphNets Research Group) and Orbits (implemented together with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). GraphNets is an interdisciplinary Research Group made of academics, master students and PhD. candidates, coordinated by Gabriel. GraphNets has a functional formal structure, being affiliated to ICUB (The Research Institute of the University of Bucharest).