Ranking Authors on the Web: A Semantic AuthorRank

  • Lule AhmediEmail author
  • Lavdim Halilaj
  • Gëzim Sejdiu
  • Labinot Bajraktari
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


Author ranking is growing in popularity since search engines are considering the author’s reputation of a Web page when generating search results. A question that naturally arises is whether we should rank authors on the Web as we rank Web pages by considering their links. In addition, over what links to actually calculate author ranking? We have adopted an extended FOAF ontology, the so-called Co-AuthorOnto ontology, able to represent authors, but also their co-author links on the Web. We further extended Co-AuthorOnto with PageRank and AuthorRank metrics for ranking authors based on their co-author links. Important to note is that both PageRank and AuthorRank are implemented in Semantic Web Rule Language (SWRL), which represents a novelty and fits well with the semantic modeling of authors and their co-author relationships within FOAF. Preliminary semantic ranking results are demonstrated, showcasing also the huge potential of this ranking approach for adopting it by search engines where our future work will focus.



We want to thank the personnel of the library at South East European University (SEEU), and the team colleagues of the Linked University Data project funded by the SEEU for providing the set of bibliographic data we experimented with. Also a thank you note is addressed to the IT staff at University of Prishtina for setting up a remote server to run the experiments.


ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)

A premier membership organization for computing professionals. Unlike the IEEE, the ACM is solely dedicated to computing.


A broad ontology, referred to as the AKT Reference Ontology, for describing an academic computer science community. It consists of several sub-ontologies: Support, Portal, etc.


The PageRank algorithm adopted to rank authors.

Co-authorship networks

An important class of social networks modeling co-author relations to, say, analyze the trends of research collaborations, or determine the status of individual researchers.


An ontology which extends FOAF to support modeling co-authorship networks on the Web.


An on-line repository of bibliographic data on major computer science publications well known to its community.

Erdős number

An early example of co-authorship networks, in which a “collaborative distance”, i.e., the smallest number of co-authorship links between any individual author and the mathematician Paul Erdős is calculated.

FOAF (Friend of a Friend)

An RDF schema for machine-readable modeling of homepage-like profiles and social networks.

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

The world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.


In computer science, it is a formal representation of knowledge in a given domain of interest through vocabulary definition of that domain: the concepts and their taxonomy, properties, constraints, and relationships among concepts.

OWL (Web Ontology Language)

The standard language to formally define and instantiate ontologies on the Web so that they can be used and understood in that certain domain.


An algorithm based on link analysis for ranking. It was initially used for ranking Web pages on the Web by Google, but is also nowadays used to rank authors (AuthorRank), detect spams, and similar. There is a metric named PageRank in social network analysis (SNA) as well, which measures the reputation of an individual in a network following the same rationale as when ranking Web pages.

RDF (Resource Description Framework)

The basic standard for the Semantic Web. It defines the building blocks of the Semantic Web, such as classes and properties, and how they interact to create meaning.

Semantic Web

As opposed to the traditional Web, it represents the Web of data with meaning in such a way that a computer program can understand (make use of) that meaning of the data.

SNA (Social Network Analysis)

An interdisciplinary area of research in social sciences and the information technology. It provides theories and techniques that prove the effects of an individual or a group of individuals belonging to a given network into some outcomes related to that individual or group.

SPARQL (Semantic Protocol and RDF Query Language)

The standard language for querying RDF data.

SQWRL (Semantic Query-Enhanced Web Rule Language)

A SWRL-based language for querying OWL ontologies.

SWRL (Semantic Web Rule Language)

A widely used language to express rules in the Semantic Web.

URI (Uniform Resources Identifiers)

Initially used as a standard format to identify pages on the Web (a string usually starting with http://). Today it serves to identify simply anything of interest, be it physical or conceptual, accessible by augmenting it to the Internet. Semantic Web also uses “http” URIs as identifiers for its resources.


  1. 1.
    Hendler J, Berners-Lee T (2010) From the Semantic Web to social machines: a research challenge for AI. Artif Intell 174(2):156–161CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Goldbeck J (2007) The dynamics of Web-based social networks: membership, relationships, and change. First Monday 12(11):1–17Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Goldbeck J (2005) Web-based social networks: a survey and future directions. Technical report, University of MarylandGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brickley D, Miller L (2010). FOAF vocabulary specification 0.97. Retrieved 28 June 2010, from
  5. 5.
    Ahmedi L, Abazi-Bexheti L, Kadriu A (2011) A uniform semantic web framework for co-authorship networks. In: IEEE ninth international conference on dependable, autonomic and secure computing, Sydney, pp 958–965Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Page L, Brin S, Motwani R, Winograd T (1999) The PageRank citation ranking: bringing order to the Web. Stanford InfoLabGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Liu X, Bollen J, Nelson ML, Van de Sompel H (2005) Co-authorship networks in the digital library research community. Inf Process Manage 41(6):1462–1480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Horrocks I, Patel-Schneider PF, Boley H, Tabet S, Grosof B, Dean M. (2004). SWRL: a semantic web rule language combining OWL and RuleML. Retrieved 27 June 2010, from
  9. 9.
    O’Connor M (2010). SWRLLanguageFAQ. Retrieved from
  10. 10.
    Ding Y, Scharffe F, Harth A, Hogan A (2006) AuthorRank: ranking improvement for the web. In: Proceedings of the international semantic web and web services conference (SWWS’06)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Harth A, Decker S (2005) Optimized index structures for querying RDF from the web. In: Proceedings of the third Latin American web congress. IEEE Computer Society, p 71Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Erétéo G, Buffa M, Gandon F, Corby O. (2009) Analysis of a real online social network using semantic web frameworks. In: Eighth international semantic web conference (ISWC’09). WileyGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    De Castro R, Grossman JW (1999) Famous trails to Paul Erdös. Math Intell 21:51–63CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nascimento MA, Sander J, Pound J (2003) Analysis of SIGMOD’s co-authorship graph. SIGMOD Rec 32(3):8–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    The AKT Reference Ontology (2003) Retrieved 23 June 2011, from Advanced Knowledge Technologies.
  16. 16.
    Noy N, Rector A (2006). Defining N-ary relations on the semantic web. Retrieved 27 June 2010, from
  17. 17.
    Knublauch H, Fergerson RW, Noy NF, Musen MA (2004). The Protégé OWL Plugin: an open development environment for semantic web applications. In: Third international semantic web conference (ISWC’04.3298). Springer LNCS, pp 229–243Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    McGuinness DL, van Harmelen F (2004). OWL web ontology language overview. Retrieved 27 June 2010, from
  19. 19.
    Carley KM (2001) ORA project. PittsburgGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lule Ahmedi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lavdim Halilaj
    • 1
  • Gëzim Sejdiu
    • 1
  • Labinot Bajraktari
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of PrishtinaPrishtinaRepublic of Kosovo

Personalised recommendations