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The coauthorship networks of the most productive European researchers

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The world of science possesses an inherent inequality in the distribution of research output and impact. Only a small minority of researchers is responsible for the majority of the knowledge production. However, little is known about the factors that might explain the prestige and the working habits of these researchers. In this paper, we therefore examine the coauthorship networks of the most productive European researchers over a 12-year time window, between the years 2007 and 2018. Explicitly, we look at the impact that these collaborative structures have upon the citations of the researchers. We show that highly productive researchers gain benefits in terms of citations by increasing their research output, by embedding themselves in large geographically dispersed coauthorship networks, as well as by publishing with highly cited collaborators. These results substantiate a prestige effect (the best tend to collaborate with the best) that governs the behaviour of the most productive researchers. Our study thus contributes to the currently coalescing literature on profiling the European research elite, and we hope it will be informative to policy-makers in their efforts of driving Europe towards an integrated research area.

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Funding was provided by Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si Inovarii (Grant No. PN-III-P1-1.1-TE- 2016-0362), The Slovenian Research Agency (Grant Nos. J1-2457, J1-9112, and P1-0403) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grant No. LE 2237/2-1). We thank Ms. Laura Trandafir for her help in formatting Fig. 1.

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Correspondence to Marian-Gabriel Hâncean.



See Tables 5 and 6.

Table 5 European Union-based most productive researchers (egos) by country.
Table 6 The European Union-based coauthors (alters) by country.

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Hâncean, MG., Perc, M. & Lerner, J. The coauthorship networks of the most productive European researchers. Scientometrics 126, 201–224 (2021).

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