Identification of research communities in cited and uncited publications using a co-authorship network

  • Zewen Hu
  • Angela Lin
  • Peter Willett


Patterns of co-authorship provide an effective means of probing the structures of research communities. In this paper, we use the CiteSpace social network tool and co-authorship data from the Web of Science to analyse two such types of community. The first type is based on the cited publications of a group of highly productive authors in a particular discipline, and the second on the uncited publications of those highly productive authors. These pairs of communities were generated for three different countries—the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA)—and for four different disciplines (as denoted by Web of Science subject categories)—Chemistry Organic, Engineering Environmental, Economics, and Management. In the case of the UK and USA, the structures of the cited and uncited communities in each of the four disciplines were markedly different from each other; in the case of the PRC, conversely, the cited and uncited PRC communities had broadly similar structures that were characterised by large groups of connected authors. We suggest that this may arise from a greater degree of guest or honorary authorship in the PRC than in the UK or the USA.


Uncited publications Co-authorship Honorary authorship Social network analysis Collaborative pattern Research community 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71603128), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China (Grant No. BK20160974), the China Scholarship Council for funding (Grant No. 201608320057). Furthermore, Zewen Hu thanks PhD candidate lucyantie Mazalan from University of Sheffield for help in Chi squared analysis.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Management Science and EngineeringNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Information SchoolUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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