The North American Carbon Program (NACP) was formed to further the scientific understanding of sources, sinks, and stocks of carbon in Earth's environment. Carbon cycle science integrates multidisciplinary research, providing decision-support information for managing climate and carbon-related change across multiple sectors of society. This investigation uses the conceptual framework of communities of practice (CoP) to explore the role that the NACP has played in connecting researchers into a carbon cycle knowledge network, and in enabling them to conduct physical science that includes ideas from social science. A CoP describes the communities formed when people consistently engage in shared communication and activities towards a common passion or learning goal. We apply the CoP model by using keyword analysis of abstracts from scientific publications to analyze the research outputs of the NACP in terms of its knowledge domain. We also construct a co-authorship network from the publications of core NACP members, describe the structure and social pathways within the community. Results of the content analysis indicate that the NACP community of practice has substantially expanded its research on human and social impacts on the carbon cycle, contributing to a better understanding of how human and physical processes interact with one another. Results of the co-authorship social network analysis demonstrate that the NACP has formed a tightly connected community with many social pathways through which knowledge may flow, and that it has also expanded its network of institutions involved in carbon cycle research over the past seven years.
Brown, M. E., Ihli, M., Hendrick, O., Delgado-Arias, S., Escobar, V. M., & Griffith, P. (2016). Social network and content analysis of the North American Carbon Program as a scientific community of practice. Social Networks, 44, 226-237.