, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 1167–1191 | Cite as

Identifying institutional relationships in a geographically distributed public health system using interlinking and co-authorship methods

  • José-Antonio Ontalba-Ruipérez
  • Enrique Orduna-MaleaEmail author
  • Adolfo Alonso-Arroyo


Link analysis is highly effective in detecting relationships between different institutions, relationships that are stronger the greater their geographical proximity. We therefore decided to apply an interlinking analysis to a set of geographically dispersed research entities and to compare the results with the co-authorship patterns between these institutions in order to determine how, and if, these two techniques might reveal complementary insights. We set out to study the specific sector of public health in Spain, a country with a high degree of regional autonomy. We recorded all Spanish health entities (and their corresponding URLs) that belong to, and were hyperlinked from, the national government or any of the regional governments, gathering a total of 263 URLs. After considering their suitability for web metric analysis, interlinking scores between all valid URLs were obtained. In addition, the number of co-authored articles by each pair of institutions and the total scientific output per institution were retrieved from Scopus. Both interlinking and co-authorship methods detect the existence of strength subnets of geographically distributed nodes (especially the Catalan entities) as well as their high connectivity with the main national network nodes (subnet of nodes distributed according to dependence on national government, in this case Spain). However, the resulting interlinking pattern shows a low but significant correlation (r = 0.5) with scientific co-authorship patterns. The existence of institutions that are strongly interlinked but with limited scientific collaboration (and vice versa) reveals that links within this network are not accurately reflecting existing scientific collaborations, due to inconsistent web content development.


Link analysis Network analysis Co-authorship Public health Institutional relationships Spain 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 155 kb)


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • José-Antonio Ontalba-Ruipérez
    • 1
  • Enrique Orduna-Malea
    • 2
    Email author
  • Adolfo Alonso-Arroyo
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Diseño y FabricaciónPolytechnic University of Valencia (UPV)ValenciaSpain
  2. 2.EC3 Research GroupPolytechnic University of Valencia (UPV)ValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Valencia (UV)ValenciaSpain

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