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Social Networks and University Spaces. Knowledge and Open Innovation in the Ibero-American Knowledge Space

  • 1Email author and
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RUSC, Universities and Knowledge Society Journal20129:9010245

  • Received: 15 February 2011
  • Accepted: 15 May 2011
  • Published:


Information technology-based social spaces can open up new ways to facilitate the university community’s participation in decision-making processes. Although the appropriation of technology is very high and widespread among university groups, there is a very weak presence of suitable structures and processes that enable institutions to channel online participation, to analyse their impact on improving organisational goals and, ultimately, to make use of such open processes as a means of generating innovations in their main lines of action. Based on the experience of coordinating the UniversiaG10 project, the Social Web platform of the 2nd Universia International Meeting of Rectors, this article proposes some innovations and elements that justify the need to move towards true e-governance of universities.

Drawing on the design and results of this project, we review the bases of sociability on the Web by taking account of grassroots movements and new hybrid models of interaction on social networks, both on- and offline. Building on these experiences and a critical analysis of them, we consider ways to nudge towards open-innovation processes in higher education institutions by taking the dynamics of participation in the Social Web as the point of reference. In particular, two cases of socio-educational innovation stemming from the actions implemented while the project was running are conceptualised: firstly, the institutionalisation of participatory logics and, secondly, community-based dynamics. The conclusions highlight the opportunity to move towards e-governance models in universities in order to integrate open innovation and university-community participation dynamics through social technologies.


  • distributed knowledge
  • higher education
  • social networks
  • open innovation
  • grassroots movements
  • nudge
  • e-governance