Invisible colleges in the adult education research world


  • Staffan Larsson Linköping University, Sweden



Bibliometrics, publications, adult education, invisible college, academic journals


Invisible colleges - researchers' networks of communicating academic work - are power-generating actors shaping research fields. A key question concerns the relation between local research communities and their dependence on global actors. A key arena is articles and citations in academic journals. An actor-network-inspired empirical investigation of the geographical origin of articles and references in the journal "Studies in the Education of Adults" and a check of references to journals in "Adult Education Quarterly" was made. The origin of articles and study objects in the International journal of Lifelong education was also analysed. Some conclusions can be drawn from the material. One is the heavy impact of "real" geographical location, i.e. the origins of texts and references are located in very specific areas on the map, i.e. in spite of the possibilities of cyberspace and global mobility. Another conclusion is the unilateral relation between an Anglo-American centre and a periphery in the distribution systems of texts. Adult education is faced with a contradictory situation between culturing invisible colleges in adult education and getting resources in the emerging economy of publications and citations through membership in other invisible colleges.


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How to Cite

Larsson, S. (2010). Invisible colleges in the adult education research world. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 1(1-2), 97–112.