How does the LTER network in fact act as a functioning network? What properties of sites promote their contribution to network function? Answering these questions can help in decision making to (1) increase the integration of the US LTER network and (2) promote the LTER as a paradigm for scientific research coordination. We have begun addressing these questions before ASM 2006, and propose to continue and expand upon our earlier efforts. These efforts will accomplish the following objectives:
1. Improve the quality of information on publications by LTER scientists and characteristics of sites, during the quality assurance procedure for the analysis.
2. Characterize the changes in network structure over the history of the U.S. LTER through distributions of multi-site publications with the expectation that the network has become more coordinated and has developed stronger links.
3. Determine correspondence of network structure and site characteristics with the expectation that some sites are more active in their involvement in multi-site products and these have common characteristics.
4. Prepare a manuscript to summarize these results for promotion of the LTER concept and suggest strategies for improving network coordination.
5. Consider value of a proposal to continue efforts and initiate proposal.