- INVISIBLE COLLEGE; Diffusion of Knowledge among Political Scientists in Japan
- No.16, p.19-48
The purpose of this study is to confirm the significance of informal communication in the information transfer process and to grasp the characteristics of information network among Japanese political scientists.
Literature analysis revealed back-grounds of political scientists, and as growth indices the number of scientists, research budgets and publications were adopted. One hundred and fifty political scientists out of 660 members active in research were randomly sampled and questionnaires were sent out. The recovery rate was 47%. Interviews and observations were employed to supplement the questionnaire.
It was found out that the Japanese social science literature increased three times during 25 years, and the number of scientists and research budget had doubled in 15-20 years. As a general background, Japanese political scientists are relatively older in age and mostly occupy professor's status, and 37% of them have Master's degrees. About one third of them had graduated from the University of Tokyo, and together with graduates of other national universities, they constitute 60% of the sample. Subdisciplines of political science are varied.
The literature analysis and questionnaire survey disclosed the existence and effectiveness of informal communication channels among Japanese political scientists. Also existent is a kind of invisible college centering around 20-30 key personalities. However, this invisible college is made up solely of the graduates of University of Tokyo. This is quite characteristic of Japanese political science community. The rate of inbreeding of Tokyo University graduates, large number of learned societies, and private-library-oriented tendency heavily influence the physiology of our invisible college. The private-library-orientation may not change shortly. On the other hand, information is increasing rapidly, so that most of the scientists seem to be aware of the limit of their own collections. They are, however, tend to rely on informal communication than university libraries. How this phenomenon affect our library systems?