Although research and development (R&D) networks influence the innovation performance of their members, firms may not be fully aware of the scope of their network. In particular, due to cost reasons, they may not be fully informed of their “indirect ties”, that is, of the ties between their partners and other firms. To investigate this issue, the paper uses a survey inquiring about whether firms are aware of the ties that their main direct R&D partners may (or may not) have between themselves. Our results show that responding firms are more informed about their partners' other collaboration projects when the partnership is more directly linked to intangible R&D capital, when at least one partner is a public research organization or when the partnership is needed to access a new market. Network awareness is also higher when both R&D partners are from the same type (e.g. public research organization, companies, technical centers). Firms with a high R&D intensity or with a large size, as well as those affiliated to a group, are less likely to know their indirect ties. Finally, network awareness is lower in high-technology industries.