Close to the edge: co-authorship proximity of Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, 1991–2010, to cross-disciplinary brokers


Between 1991 and 2010, 45 scientists were honored with Nobel prizes in Physiology or Medicine. It is shown that these 45 Nobel laureates are separated, on average, by at most 2.8 co-authorship steps from at least one cross-disciplinary broker, defined as a researcher who has published co-authored papers both in some biomedical discipline and in some non-biomedical discipline. If Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine and their immediate collaborators can be regarded as forming the intuitive “center” of the biomedical sciences, then at least for this 20-year sample of Nobel laureates, the center of the biomedical sciences within the co-authorship graph of all of the sciences is closer to the edges of multiple non-biomedical disciplines than typical biomedical researchers are to each other.

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    Data from Accessed June 28, 2014.

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Correspondence to Chris Fields.


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Appendix 2: Tabular results

The following tables summarize the results depicted in Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 and described in the text. Note that the distances reported are in some cases along paths traversing multiple subgraphs (Tables 123).

Table 1 Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, 1991–2000
Table 2 Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, 2001–2010
Table 3 Other Nobel laureates included in the discussion

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Fields, C. Close to the edge: co-authorship proximity of Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, 1991–2010, to cross-disciplinary brokers. Scientometrics 103, 267–299 (2015).

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  • Biomedicine
  • Co-authorship graphs
  • Cross-disciplinary brokerage
  • Graph centrality
  • Preferential attachment