Virtual Social Capital of Young Academics

Introduction. The article is devoted to the study of the formation by scientists of their social capital on the Internet. The importance of social capital has always been highly appreciated in the academic environment, however, the “digitization” of social capital as a phenomenon remains poorly disclosed. The purpose of the article is to explore how do young scientists form virtual social capital. Methodology and sources. The methodological basis for the study is formed by “classics” in the field of social capital (P. Bourdieu, R. Putnam, J. Nahapieta) and those modern scientists who have been forming the theory of virtual social capital (N. Ellison, S. Steinfeld, S. Lamp) and have been laying down principles of its measurement (K. Lin, D. Williams, S. Chiu) for the last few years. The questionnaire survey was conducted in January-April 2022. Young scientists of Novosibirsk State Technical University (graduate students, candidates of science up to 35 years old, doctors of science up to 45 years old and employees without a degree up to 35 years old, engaged in research or scientific and pedagogical activities) became the empirical base. The sample with N = 361 was 186 respondents. Results and discussion. The results of the study show that young scientists are more likely to transfer the offline behavior pattern to the online environment, where scientific achievements and academic connections are important in academic communities. Respondents form a virtual social capital of a closed type, transfer existing networks of academic connections to the Internet space, use academic Internet platforms to a greater extent for self-presentation and information search, demonstrate an asymmetric behavior pattern, ignoring the norms of reciprocity in the distribution of resources within a social group. Conclusion. With all the technological opportunities, social prerequisites and expected benefits from the formation of virtual social capital, young scientists are cautious and do not fully realize the potential available in the Internet environment for its increase.

Authors: Ekaterina A. Poddyachaya

Direction: Sociology

Keywords: virtual social capital, young academics, academic social networks

View full article