The Patio is born as a meeting space for RUG researchers interested in social networks. The space houses discussions about social networks among researchers coming from a plurality of disciplinary backgrounds. These interdisciplinary discussions are expected to facilitate original research and trigger new scientific collaborations. 


Over the last decades, the way scholars study how people interact has moved from the binary opposition of collectivism-individualism, to the analysis of social networks. We can find a variety of examples of this scholars’ move, from the study of ancient historical networks, through the analysis of animal social networks to the research on neural networks (AI). 

This increasing interest in social network analysis has been paralleled by the creation of several scientific conferences (e.g. International Network on Social Network Analysis -INSNA- ,  the European Conference on Social Network Analysis -EUSN-, or the Historical Network Research Conference) which bring together researchers dealing with network science. Furthermore, the total number of publications using a network approach has grown exponentially since the 1970’s (Brass et al. 2014), as can be seen in the graph below. 

Despite the evidence of a booming network science use, the University of Groningen (RUG) still misses a (multidisciplinary) space where researchers interested in social networks can meet, exchange thoughts, and deliberate. Indeed, although many RUG researchers are currently using a network approach, and possibly encounter similar research difficulties, they remain scattered among several departments and faculties. The Patio aims to solve this problem by providing a space to structurally bring together researchers working on network studies. Specifically, it aims to gather scholars from fields as varied as (and not limited to) media studies, sociology, ancient history, politics, computer science and philosophy. Each researcher brings to The Patio his/her own expertise, while our overlap exists in the science of networks. This area of overlap is the focus of our meetings. 

Why join? 

By joining The Patio researchers will benefit from: 

  1. Presenting their research: researchers will find in The Patio a space where they can present their ongoing studies on social networks.  
  2. Receiving valuable feedback: while we might find expertise about discipline-specific concepts among colleagues in our department, chances are that these colleagues are not able to reflect on the social network analysis methodology. In The Patio, researchers can benefit from the feedback of other network scientists. 
  3. Finding collaborators: The Patio is the ideal space to chat about possible research collaborations. 
  4. Publishing together: The members of The Patio are expected to work on joint research endeavors (e.g. special issue or edited book). 


The meetings of The Patio take place at the University of Groningen. 


The Patio organizes three ordinary meetings and one symposium every year. The ordinary meetings take the form of:

  1. Paper presentations: participants present their work and receive feedback from other colleagues; 
  2. Brainstorm sessions: discussions among colleagues revolve around a central theme;
  3. Workshops: to develop knowledge about a particular methodological aspect.

The yearly symposium consists of: 

  1. Presentations from keynote speakers with relevant expertise in the science of networks;
  2. Panels where participants discuss about specific issues related to social networks;
  3. Events where attendees can foster connections and collaborations