A research collective consists of a group of researchers who collaborate about their research. These research collectives include academic and independent research institutions and associations, with a strong online presence.Twitter is a useful tool for locating active contemporary new media academics. Through the hashtag and list functions, you can locate relevant scholars and the communities they are involved in. Facebook provides easy access to academic institutions through their pages and related groups. Moreover, it provides a space for unlimited networking between New Media professionals, scholars and students.
Reference managers Zotero and Mendeley contain bibliographical libraries on particular topics in the form of academic groups. Through these citation communities you can communicate with other researchers using these tools. You may also use the search tool on the group pages of Zotero and Mendeley to customize your search.
There is often a debate about what constitutes a research community when looking at the funding sources of these organizations. Researchers, and academics might have a difficult time associating between lobbyist organizations, think tanks, and academic research depending on the funding sources, and the activities of these organizations.
These discussions regarding funding have formed around such places like the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council, however they are not considered part of the New Media Research Communities considered in this entry.
When looking at what constitutes research communities, communities such as Best Bits which uses civil society networks to share the various initiatives of its participants on Internet governance (advocacy campaigns, policy development, or academic research) are more so considered networks, as opposed to "communities". A network is concerned wtih the linkages between nodes, or links, that fosters flows of information. A community however, consists of members with a shared identity, and a common purpose regarding a domain of knowledge or learning. In the inherent differences between communities such as the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) and Best Bits exists, is that the members of AoIR 's community are academic researchers working on the growth of the field of Internet studies, a network such as Best Bits consists of researchers from various institutional backgrounds, without necessarily a common cause, but a common topic.