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Standing on the shoulders of giants: the effect of outstanding scientists on young collaborators’ careers

Abstract

Collaboration is one of the key features in scientific research. With more and more knowledge accumulated in each discipline, individual researcher can only be an expert in some specific areas. As such, there are more and more multi-author papers nowadays. Many works in scientometrics have been devoted to analyze the structure of collaboration networks. However, how the collaboration impacts an author’s future career is much less studied in the literature. In this paper, we provide empirical evidence with American Physical Society data showing that collaboration with outstanding scientists (measured by their total citation) will significantly improve young researchers’ career. Interestingly, this effect is strongly nonlinear and subject to a power function with an exponent <1. Our work is also meaningful from practical point of view as it could be applied to identifying the potential young researchers.

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Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61603046 and 61374175) and the Natural Science Foundation of Beijing (Grant No. 16L00077).

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Correspondence to An Zeng.

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Qi, M., Zeng, A., Li, M. et al. Standing on the shoulders of giants: the effect of outstanding scientists on young collaborators’ careers. Scientometrics 111, 1839–1850 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2328-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2328-8

Keywords

  • Career evolution
  • Scientific collaboration
  • Young scholar