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Evolving collaboration networks in Scientometrics in 1978–2010: a micro–macro analysis

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Abstract

This paper reports first results on the interplay of different levels of the science system. Specifically, we would like to understand if and how collaborations at the author (micro) level impact collaboration patterns among institutions (meso) and countries (macro). All 2,541 papers (articles, proceedings papers, and reviews) published in the international journal Scientometrics from 1978–2010 are analyzed and visualized across the different levels and the evolving collaboration networks are animated over time. Studying the three levels in isolation we gain a number of insights: (1) USA, Belgium, and England dominated the publications in Scientometrics throughout the 33-year period, while the Netherlands and Spain were the subdominant countries; (2) the number of institutions and authors increased over time, yet the average number of papers per institution grew slowly and the average number of papers per author decreased in recent years; (3) a few key institutions, including Univ Sussex, KHBO, Katholieke Univ Leuven, Hungarian Acad Sci, and Leiden Univ, have a high centrality and betweenness, acting as gatekeepers in the collaboration network; (4) early key authors (Lancaster FW, Braun T, Courtial JP, Narin F, or VanRaan AFJ) have been replaced by current prolific authors (such as Rousseau R or Moed HF). Comparing results across the three levels reveals that results from one level might propagate to the next level, e.g., top rankings of a few key single authors can not only have a major impact on the ranking of their institution but also lead to a dominance of their country at the country level; movement of prolific authors among institutions can lead to major structural changes in the institution networks. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive and the only multi-level study of Scientometrics conducted to date.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the members of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Centre, School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University for their advise in using the Sci2 tool. The paper did benefit greatly from detailed comments by an anonymous reviewer. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Chinese Academy of Science for funding Yunwei Chen (the first author) to visit Indiana University and conduct this study. This work is funded in part by the James S. McDonnell Foundation. We thank Todd Theriault for copy-editing the paper. This work is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health under grant no. U01GM098959 and the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

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Correspondence to Yunwei Chen.

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Chen, Y., Börner, K. & Fang, S. Evolving collaboration networks in Scientometrics in 1978–2010: a micro–macro analysis. Scientometrics 95, 1051–1070 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-012-0895-2

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