Using social network analysis to track the evolution of Pacific food system research collaborations over time

Rachel Friedman, Ellis Mackenzie, Asenati L. Chan-Tung, Matthew Allen, Steven Crimp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Climate change undermines the foundations of food and nutrition security, making it crucial to understand and improve the current research collaborations striving to fill knowledge gaps about the impacts on food systems. This study focuses on the network of research actors working on food systems and climate change in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), a region particularly vulnerable to climate change, and actively integrating knowledge about climate impacts to inform adaptation planning. Specifically, this study looks at co-publication as a form of research collaboration and co-production, using network analysis to understand who are the prominent organizational actors driving knowledge development in the region. Overall, we found a distinct core of these organizations engaged in the research space, dominated in number by academic institutions largely based in Australia, the USA, and New Zealand, but knit together through the interactions of the regional government agencies of the Pacific Islands. Over time, the network of research collaboration on climate change and food systems in the region has grown and diversified. While regional Pacific institutions have remained central actors throughout, national and subnational actors are still in the minority, raising questions about efforts to decolonize research in the region. Furthermore, greater interaction between peripheral actors and the core (especially Pacific actors) could help integrate new research into Pacific knowledge bases and decision-making. Ultimately, when facing the novel conditions that climate change brings, combining the infusion of new knowledge and innovation with local expertise and ownership is critical.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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