The process of creating a new scientific discipline for collaborative networks is addressed in this paper. Collaborative networks manifest in a large variety of forms, including virtual organizations, virtual enterprises, dynamic supply chains, professional virtual communities, collaborative virtual laboratories, etc. A large body of empiric knowledge related to collaborative networks is becoming available, but there is an urgent need to consolidate this knowledge and build the foundations for sustainable and solid research and development in this area. The establishment of a scientific discipline for collaborative networks is a strong instrument in achieving this purpose. Here, also the main characteristics of a "discipline" are analyzed in the context of collaborative networks, showing that the pre-conditions necessary for building this new discipline are available.