Issues in the analysis of co-authorship networks
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- De Stefano, D., Giordano, G. & Vitale, M.P. Qual Quant (2011) 45: 1091. doi:10.1007/s11135-011-9493-2
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Scientific collaboration is a complex phenomenon that improves the sharing of competences and the production of new scientific knowledge. Social Network Analysis is often used to describe the scientific collaboration patterns defined by co-authorship relationships. Different phases of the analysis of collaboration are related to: data collection, network boundary setting, relational data matrix definition, data analysis and interpretation of results. The aim of this paper is to point out some issues that arise in these different phases, highlighting: (i) the use of local archives versus international bibliographic databases; (ii) the use of different approaches for setting boundaries in a whole-network; (iii) the definition of a co-authorship data matrix (binary and weighted ties) and (iv) the analysis and the interpretation of network measures for co-authorship data. We discuss the different choices that can be made in these phases within an illustrative example on real data which is referred to scientific collaboration among researchers affiliated to an academic institution. In particular, we compare global and actor-level network measures computed from binary and weighted co-authorship networks in different disciplines.