“All credit, therefore, to those who establish multidisciplinary projects […] and who integrate natural sciences, social sciences and humanities from the outset. The mutual framing of challenges is the surest way to overcome the concep-
tual diversities and gulfs that can make such collaborations a challenge.”
[Nature Editorial January 2015]
The social sciences and humanities are getting more computational, and computing is getting more human and social. This makes it necessary to combine the power of information and communication technology (ICT) with knowledge from the social sciences and humanities. ICT will provide the data, methods and means to boost the social sciences and humanities into a new era, while the social sciences and humanities will provide a better understanding of the opportunities and risks of strongly networked systems.
Information, communication, and networking technologies create innovative ways to connect people, communities, organizations, and economies in the Information Society. New local and global opportunities emerge for people to associate and collaborate in a wide diversity of relationships. Networks offer highly flexible and versatile forms of association and organization across existing boundaries. Driving these networks is a continuous process of creating, exchanging and sharing information and knowledge. These innovations have a fundamental impact on how we work, think, and act.
The construct of a “network” functions as a unifying conceptual, theoretical, methodological and technological theme across the different research areas. Networked structures are emerging as a central concept in all of the disciplines in the Network Institute. Modelling a diverse set of phenomena as networks, exploring their structural properties in a science of networks, and studying their nature, origin, content, structure and evolution leads to useful crossfertilisation and technology transfer between our diverse fields.