Lecture Notes in Physics Volume 650, 2004, pp 337-370
Date: 19 Aug 2004

Who Is the Best Connected Scientist?A Study of Scientific Coauthorship Networks

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Abstract

Using data from computer databases of scientific papers in physics, biomedical research, and computer science, we have constructed networks of collaboration between scientists in each of these disciplines. In these networks two scientists are considered connected if they have coauthored one or more papers together. We have studied many statistical properties of our networks, including numbers of papers written by authors, numbers of authors per paper, numbers of collaborators that scientists have, typical distance through the network from one scientist to another, and a variety of measures of connectedness within a network, such as closeness and betweenness. We further argue that simple networks such as these cannot capture the variation in the strength of collaborative ties and propose a measure of this strength based on the number of papers coauthored by pairs of scientists, and the number of other scientists with whom they worked on those papers. Using a selection of our results, we suggest a variety of possible ways to answer the question “Who is the best connected scientist?”