John McLevey Dec2018
John McLevey is a faculty member in the Department of Knowledge Integration at University of Waterloo, and is cross-appointed to Sociology & Legal Studies, the School of Environment, Resources, & Sustainability, and Geography & Environmental Management.  He primarily works in the areas of social network analysis and computational social science, with substantive interests in the science-policy interface, environmental governance, and social movements.  His work is currently funded by 8 research grants, including an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and 5 grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
As a computational social scientist, Dr. McLevey’s most general research goal is to advance our knowledge of how social networks and institutions affect the spread of information, knowledge, beliefs, biases, and behaviours. His work is also focused on better understanding the social and political consequences of those complex transmission processes.  He is currently leading or collaborating on a number of research projects in service of that larger goal, including on the effects of cognitive diversity in scientific teams, evidence-based policy making, and how educational innovations diffuse.  Each combines computational methods (specifically related to network analysis, natural language processing and text analysis, and record linkage) with social scientific theories and methods. You can find details about these projects on his research website.
In addition to writing articles, Dr. McLevey and his students develop research software. You can learn more about  metaknowledge and their other research software on the  NetLab  website.
Finally, Dr. McLevey co-runs (and loves to talk about) a program called Science Outside the Lab North. It’s an intensive course in Science Policy offered twice a year in Ottawa and Montreal.
A list of Dr. McLevey’s recent publications are available on his research website.
Science & Health Policy



  • John McLevey. Doing Computational Social Science Under contract with Sage, UK Office. Research methods and data science series.
  • Mark Stoddart, Alice Mattoni, and John McLevey. Industrial Development and Eco-Tourisms: Is Co-existence Possible Between Oil Exploration and Nature Conservation? Under contract with Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Harry Collins with Robert Evans, Jonathon Goodall, Michael Gorman, Martin Innes, Will Mason-Wilkes, John McLevey and Alun Preece (authors after Collins are listed alphabetically). Face-to-Face: Why You Need to Talk to People to Understand the World (working title). Book manuscript under review.

Articles and Chapters in Peer Reviewed Volumes:

  • Owen Gallupe, John McLevey, and Sarah Brown. 2018. “Selection or Influence? A Meta-Analysis of the Association between Peer and Personal Offending.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology. 1-23.
  • John McLevey, Alexander Graham, Reid McIlroy-Young, Pierson Browne, and Kathryn S. Plaisance. 2018. “Interdisciplinarity and Insularity in the Diffusion of Knowledge: An Analysis of Disciplinary Boundaries Between Philosophy of Science and the Sciences.” Scientometrics. 117(1):331-349.
  • John McLevey and Ryan Deschamps. 2018. “The Sociology of Public Policy Formation and Implementation.” William Outhwaite and Stephen Turner (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology. SAGE.
  • John McLevey, Allyson Stokes, and Amelia Howard. 2018. “Pierre Bourdieu’s Uneven Influence on Anglophone Canadian Sociology.” Thomas Medvetz and Jeff Sallaz (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Pierre Bourdieu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • John McLevey and Reid McIlroy-Young. 2017. “Introducing metaknowledge: Software for Computational Research in Information Science, Network Analysis, and Science of Science.” The Journal of Informetrics. 11: 176-197.
  • Allyson Stokes and John McLevey (equal authors). 2016. “From Porter to Bourdieu: The Evolving Specialty Structure of English Canadian Sociology, 1966- 2014.” Canadian Review of Sociology / Revue canadienne de sociologie. 53(2):176–202.
  • John McLevey. 2015. “Understanding Policy Research in Liminal Spaces: Think Tank Responses to Diverging Principles of Legitimacy.” Social Studies of Science. 45(2):270-293.
  • John McLevey. 2014. “Think Tanks, Funding, and the Politics of Policy Knowledge in Canada.” Canadian Review of Sociology / Revue canadienne de sociologie. 51(1):54-75.

Policy Research Reports / Government Reports

  • Janice Aurini, John McLevey, Allyson Stokes, and Rob Gorbet. 2017. “Classroom Robotics and Acquisition of 21st Century Competencies: An Action Research Study of Nine Ontario School Boards.” Report for the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) and the Ministry of Education, Ontario.

Special Issues of Peer Reviewed Journals:

  • David Tindall, John McLevey, and Nina Kolleck (editors). Social Networks and Climate Change. Special issue / section of Social Networks. Call for papers currently open.
  • Mark Stoddart, John McLevey, Vanessa Schweizer, and Catherine Wong (editors). Climate Change and Energy Futures. Special issue of Society and Natural Resources.

Open Source Scientific Software Developed

  • metaknowledge: A Python package for quantitative and social networks research in the sociology of science and information science. Developed by Reid McIlroy-Young and John McLevey. First released in 2015. Under active development. Website and documentation:
  • Nate: A Python package for network-based text analysis. Developed by John McLevey. Under active development. Website and documentation: Coming soon…
  • pdpp: A Python package for principled data processing, Python. Developed by Pierson Browne, Tyler Crick, Rachel Wood, and John McLevey. First released in 2015. Under active development. Website and documentation: Coming soon…
  • divsim: A Python package computing measures of diversity and similarity in networks discussed in the paper by McLevey, Graham, Browne, and Crick. Developed by Tyler Crick, Alexander Graham, and John McLevey. Under active development. Website and documentation: Coming soon…
  • tidyextractors: A Python package for extracting quantitative datasets from source code repositories, email mbox files, and social media APIs (currently Twitter). Developed and maintained by NetLab RA Joel Becker with NetLab support. Website and documentation:
  • Contributions to Jonathan de Bruin’s Python package recordlinkage: A Python package for linking records across multiple data sources when there is no unique ID available. NetLab contributions are focused on implementing new comparison and fusion algorithms that are necessary for advancing my grant-funded empirical research on the structure and evolution of cross-sectoral collaboration networks in science and technology. Most NetLab contributions to recordlinkage are implemented by Joel Becker (RA) and occasionally Jillian Anderson (RA), and then submitted to Jonathan de Bruin as pull requests.
  • gitnet: A Python package for mining source code repository and mailing list data and generating network datasets. Developed by Joel Becker, Jillian Anderson, Steve McColl, and John McLevey. First released in 2016. gitnet is still publicly available and functional, but development efforts and maintenance have shifted to tidyextractors and other Python packages. Website and documentation:


  • “Tory war on evidence claims another casualty” with Liam Swiss. Toronto Star Op-Ed published on September 24 2014, section A15.


  • 2019. Janice Aurini, Allyson Stokes, John McLevey, Jessica Riztk, and Rob Gorbet. “Ed-Tech Connect: An Intersectoral Workshop on Education, Technology, and 21st Century Labour.” SSHRC Connection Grant, $16,400 (plus matching funds).
  • 2018-2019. Mark Stoddart (PI), John McLevey, (Co-Applicant), John Sandlos (Co-Applicant), Vanessa Schweizer (Co-Applicant), Catherine Mei Ling Wong (Co-Applicant). Climate Change and Energy Futures Workshop: Challenges and Opportunities for Global and Interdisciplinary Research. SSHRC Connection Grant, $24,373 (plus $14,339 in matching funds from Memorial University and University of Waterloo).
  • 2016-2022. David Tindall (PI), John McLevey (Co-I), Mark Stoddart (Co-I). Collaborators: Mario Diani, Jennifer Earl, Dana R Fisher, Philip Leifeld, Andrew Jorgenson, Philippe Le Billon, Don Grant, Moses Boudourides. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Grant Application. “Making sense of climate action: Understanding social mobilization to curb anthropogenic climate change through advances in social network analysis,” $282,672
  • 2016-2020 John McLevey (PI), Ontario Early Researcher Award, Ministry of Research and Innovation, “Information and Idea Diffusion in an Open Source Collaboration Network,” $150,000.
  • 2016-2018 John McLevey (PI), Owen Gallupe (Collaborator) and Martin Cooke (Collaborator), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Development Grant, “Remaking the Boundaries of Open and Proprietary Science: A Longitudinal Study of Biomedical Research and Development Networks in Canada” $67,790.
  • 2016-2018 Katie Plaisance (PI) and John McLevey (Co-I), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Development Grant, “Increasing the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains”, $59,302
  • 2015-2016 John McLevey (PI) and Vanessa Schweizer (Co-I), Basillie School of International Affairs, Major Workshops Grant, “Challenges and Opportunities for Governance of Socio-Ecological Systems in Comparative Perspective,” $8,400.
  • 2015-2020 Mark Stoddart (PI) and John McLevey (Co-I), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Grant, “The Oil-Tourism Interface and Social-Ecological Change in the North Atlantic,” $188,423.
  • 2014-2016 John McLevey (PI), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Development Grant, “Collaborative Design in Online Networks,” $74,814.
  • 2013 University of Waterloo, Faculty Research Startup Grant, $15,000.

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