The social actors of health and information, which are an inherent part and constitute the dimension of the social network of VHL, represent one of the pillars for the success of the network, acting as agents of the actions of cooperation in scientific and technical information (see VHL as an operational framework of cooperative work networks). The first step to the development of a VHL instance is the identification and the articulation of the social network and definition of responsibilities for the cooperative work. The composition of this network should seek the greatest possible degree of representativeness of the producing institutions, intermediaries and users of information reference in its field of knowledge, and can be expanded gradually and continuous to others social actors. The social network of a VHL is, therefore, a dynamic dimension which is remodeled in consonance with the reality of scientific practices.
Normally, one or more institutions take the leadership in this articulation process. The union of heterogeneous groups that are interconnected by common interests is a contribution of the VHL to strengthen and extend the capacity for dialogue and integration between the actors of the same social network.
The social network of a VHL is, therefore, a dynamic dimension, which is remodeled in consonance with the reality of scientific practices.
Each of the integrated initiatives of the VHL develops in the geographic institutional and thematic scopes, in a complementary way.
Regional Thematic Instances – In the regional thematic instances a set of countries assumes the responsibility of mobilization and coordination of the institutions that are producers, intermediaries and users of information of a particular thematic area for operation in the VHL.
National Thematic Instances – In the national thematic instances, a set of the institutions that are producers, intermediaries and users of information about of a specific country meets to ensure the representativeness of a particular subject in a certain area in a national context in the VHL.
National Instances – In the national instances of the VHL, the set of more representative institutions producers, intermediaries and users of health information of a particular country meet to ensure the development of the VHL in a national scope, accompanying the development of national thematic initiatives in the country.
Institutional Instances – The institutional instances of the VHL are linked to relevant and numerous scientific and technical production health institutions that adopt the VHL model as policy and operational framework for information management produced institutionally.
Biographical Instances – The Biographical instances of the VHL are dedicated to register professional trajectories of personalities that marked the history of health and biomedicine. Therefore their social network has the compromise to assemble contents and develop the VHL, considering the person and its realization and production as main subject.
The participation in the instances of the VHL is always institutionalized; therefore, network members are integrated as legitimate representatives of institutions which are linked to them. This characteristic preserves the continuous participation of the institutions on the network, even though their representatives can be changed. The participation of institutions in the network is formalized through document commitment and of justificative institutional, as an adhesion term, cooperation protocol or minutes of meeting.
In this sense, the adoption of the model by leaders of the areas related to the instance is strengthened, as well as holds up the support of the related authorities, manifested inclusively in the elaboration of a positioning document on behalf of VHL.
The VHL proposes a change of paradigms of work of the social network, since it requires the use of methodologies and technological tools of collaboration in network. This change of paradigm increases the abilities and competences of social subjects in the production and application of knowledge in health, also increasing the participation of these social subjects as producers, intermediaries and users of scientific and technical information in health.