UChicago launches Metaknowledge Network

The initiative will study “knowledge about knowledge.”

By Kei Kuwahara

A new initiative created by the University of Chicago and the Computation Institute will bring together scholars from various disciplines to study “knowledge about knowledge.”

Funded by a $5.2 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Metaknowledge Network aims to analyze how knowledge evolves and what forces shape the course of research. The results could shed light on what kinds of scholarship are most conducive to creating new and useful knowledge, helping scholars and funding patrons to make more informed choices when selecting projects to pursue.

“The Metaknowledge Network is a multi-university network that connects researchers who are asking these types of questions,” said Jacob Foster, Assistant Professor of Sociology and member of the Network. The Network will be based in a new Knowledge Lab at the Computation Institute. A partnership between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, the Institute is dedicated to innovating computational approaches to research.

Calling the work of the Metaknowledge Network “very data management intensive,” Foster explained that “the Knowledge Lab will pool data, make it accessible and clean, and make sure that the algorithms used to analyze it are efficient.”

“The long-term goal is to make it a resource for all scholars in this area of study,” he said.