, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 133–147 | Cite as

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

  • Raf Guns
  • Yu Xian LiuEmail author
  • Dilruba Mahbuba


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.


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



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.

Supplementary material

11192_2010_332_MOESM1_ESM.doc (514 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 514 kb)


  1. Börner, K. (2009). Rete-Netzwerk-Red: Analyzing and visualizing scholarly networks using the Network Workbench Tool. In B. Larsen & J. Leta (Eds.), Proceedings of ISSI 2009—the 12th international conference on scientometrics and informetrics (pp. 619–630).Google Scholar
  2. Brandes, U. (2001). A faster algorithm for betweenness centrality. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 25(2), 163–177.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brandes, U. (2008). On variants of shortest-path betweenness centrality and their generic computation. Social Networks, 30(2), 136–145.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen, L. X., & Rousseau, R. (2008). Q-measures for binary divided networks: Bridges between German and English institutes in publications of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. Scientometrics, 74, 57–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Egghe, L. (2005). Expansion of the field of informetrics: Origins and consequences. Information Processing and Management, 41(6), 1311–1316.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  6. Everett, M. G., & Borgatti, S. P. (1999). The centrality of groups and classes. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 23, 181–202.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Flom, P. L., Friedman, S. R., Strauss, S., & Neaigus, A. (2004). A new measure of linkage between two sub-networks. Connections, 26(1), 62–70.Google Scholar
  8. Freeman, L. C. (1977). A set of measures of centrality based upon betweenness. Sociometry, 40, 35–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Girvan, M., & Newman, M. E. J. (2002). Community structure in social and biological networks. PNAS, 99, 7821–7826.zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  10. Guns, R., & Liu, Y. X. (2010). Scientometric research in China in the context of international collaboration. Geomatics and Information Science of Wuhan University, 35, 112–115. (ICSUE 2010 special).Google Scholar
  11. Guns, R. & Rousseau, R. (2009). Gauging the bridging function of nodes in a network: Q-measures for networks with a finite number of subgroups. In B. Larsen & J. Leta (Eds.), Proceedings of ISSI 2009—the 12th international conference on scientometrics and informetrics (pp. 131–142).Google Scholar
  12. Kang, I. S., et al. (2009). On co-authorship for author disambiguation. Information Processing and Management, 45(1), 84–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Leydesdorff, L. (2009). How are new citation-based journal indicators adding to the bibliometric toolbox? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(7), 1327–1336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Cook, J. M. (2001). Birds of a feather: Homophily in social networks. Annual Review of Sociology, 27(1), 415–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Otte, E., & Rousseau, R. (2002). Social network analysis: A powerful strategy, also for the information sciences. Journal of Information Science, 28(6), 441–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rousseau, R. (2005). Q-measures for binary divided networks: An investigation within the field of informetrics. In Proceedings of the 68th ASIST conference (Vol. 42, pp. 675–696).Google Scholar
  17. Rousseau, R., & Zhang, L. (2008). Betweenness centrality and Q-measures in directed valued networks. Scientometrics, 75, 575–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Smalheiser, N. R., & Torvik, V. I. (2009). Author name disambiguation. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 43, 287–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications. Cambridge University: Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences.Google Scholar
  20. Yan, E., & Ding, Y. (2009). Applying centrality measures to impact analysis: A coauthorship network analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(10), 2107–2118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Antwerp, IBWAntwerpenBelgium
  2. 2.Electronic Reading RoomLibrary of Tongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Asian University for WomenChittagongBangladesh

Personalised recommendations