Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Sabine Brunswicker

Committee Member 1

Kathryne A Newton

Committee Member 2

Thomas J Hacker

Committee Member 3

Sorin A Matei


This dissertation seeks to understand the formation, operation, organizational (collaboration) and the effect of scientific digital ecosystems that connect several online community networks in a single platform. The formation, mechanism and processes of online networks that influence members output is limited and contradictory. The dissertation is comprised of three papers that are guided by the following research questions: How does online community member’s productivity (or success) depend upon their ‘position’ in the digital networks? What are the network formation mechanism, structures and characteristics of an online community? How do scientific innovations traverse (diffuse) amongst users in online communities? A combination of exploratory, inductive and deductive research designs is applied sequentially but in a non-linear manner to address research question. The dissertation contributes to the literature on scientific collaboration, digital communities of creation, social network modelling and diffusion of innovation.