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Q-measures and betweenness centrality in a collaboration network: a case study of the field of informetrics


We study global and local Q-measures, as well as betweenness centrality, as indicators of international collaboration in research. After a brief review of their definitions, we introduce the concepts of external and internal inter-group geodesics. These concepts are applied to a collaboration network of 1129 researchers from different countries, which is based on publications in bibliometrics, informetrics, webometrics, and scientometrics (BIWS in short) from the period 1990–2009. It is thus illustrated how international collaboration (among authors from different countries) in BIWS is carried out. Our results suggest that average scores for local Q-measures are typically higher, indicating a relatively low degree of international collaboration in BIWS. The dominating form of international collaboration is bilateral, whereas multilateral collaboration is relatively rare in the field of BIWS. We also identify and visualize the most important global and local actors. Dividing the entire period in four 5-year periods, it is found that most international collaboration in the field has happened in the last time slice (2005–2009). A comparison of the different time slices reveals the non-linear growth of the indicators studied and the international expansion of the field.

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    There is one exception: the ‘Second Berlin Workshop on Scientometrics and Informatics/Collaboration in Science and in Technology’ is also included. Since this conference also deals with scientometrics, we do not consider this a downside.


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A preliminary version of the current paper was prepared on the occasion of prof. Ronald Rousseau’s 60th birthday. We are very grateful to prof. Rousseau for his insightful comments and advice, which have helped to significantly improve the paper.

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Correspondence to Yu Xian Liu.

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Guns, R., Liu, Y.X. & Mahbuba, D. Q-measures and betweenness centrality in a collaboration network: a case study of the field of informetrics. Scientometrics 87, 133–147 (2011).

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  • Co-author collaborative network
  • Globalization
  • Global Q-measure
  • Local Q-measure
  • Betweenness
  • External inter-group geodesic
  • Internal inter-group geodesic
  • Evolvement of network