Is together better? Examining scientific collaborations across multiple authors, institutions, and departments

Authors : Lovenoor Aulck, Kishore Vasan, Jevin West

Collaborations are an integral part of scientific research and publishing. In the past, access to large-scale corpora has limited the ways in which questions about collaborations could be investigated. However, with improvements in data/metadata quality and access, it is possible to explore the idea of research collaboration in ways beyond the traditional definition of multiple authorship.

In this paper, we examine scientific works through three different lenses of collaboration: across multiple authors, multiple institutions, and multiple departments. We believe this to be a first look at multiple departmental collaborations as we employ extensive data curation to disambiguate authors’ departmental affiliations for nearly 70,000 scientific papers.

We then compare citation metrics across the different definitions of collaboration and find that papers defined as being collaborative were more frequently cited than their non-collaborative counterparts, regardless of the definition of collaboration used.

We also share preliminary results from examining the relationship between co-citation and co-authorship by analyzing the extent to which similar fields (as determined by co-citation) are collaborating on works (as determined by co-authorship).

These preliminary results reveal trends of compartmentalization with respect to intra-institutional collaboration and show promise in being expanded.


A statistical analysis of French teachers’ blogs: beyond institutional perspectives : Some changes in the teaching profession made visible by the study of their blogs

Authors : Muriel Epstein, Nicolas Bourgeois

Our search for new sources of analysis has led us to build a quantitative inductive method based on the analysis of lexical fields (topic models) to study teachers’ blogs.

This approach generates new insights about teachers’ concerns in expected areas, such as their discipline or their own use of digital technology, but also in unexpected areas, such as dress code issues, or terrorist attacks.

This article presents our method, and explains how and why it provides us with new opportunities for the analysis of a relatively new type of written source, namely blogs.


Dynamics of co-authorship and productivity across different fields of scientific research

Authors : Austin J. Parish, Kevin W. Boyack, John P. A. Ioannidis

We aimed to assess which factors correlate with collaborative behavior and whether such behavior associates with scientific impact (citations and becoming a principal investigator). We used the R index which is defined for each author as log(Np)/log(I1), where I1 is the number of co-authors who appear in at least I1 papers written by that author and Np are his/her total papers.

Higher R means lower collaborative behavior, i.e. not working much with others, or not collaborating repeatedly with the same co-authors. Across 249,054 researchers who had published ≥30 papers in 2000–2015 but had not published anything before 2000, R varied across scientific fields. Lower values of R (more collaboration) were seen in physics, medicine, infectious disease and brain sciences and higher values of R were seen for social science, computer science and engineering.

Among the 9,314 most productive researchers already reaching Np ≥ 30 and I1 ≥ 4 by the end of 2006, R mostly remained stable for most fields from 2006 to 2015 with small increases seen in physics, chemistry, and medicine.

Both US-based authorship and male gender were associated with higher values of R (lower collaboration), although the effect was small. Lower values of R (more collaboration) were associated with higher citation impact (h-index), and the effect was stronger in certain fields (physics, medicine, engineering, health sciences) than in others (brain sciences, computer science, infectious disease, chemistry).

Finally, for a subset of 400 U.S. researchers in medicine, infectious disease and brain sciences, higher R (lower collaboration) was associated with a higher chance of being a principal investigator by 2016. Our analysis maps the patterns and evolution of collaborative behavior across scientific disciplines.

URL : Dynamics of co-authorship and productivity across different fields of scientific research


‘Publication favela’ or bibliodiversity? Open access publishing viewed from a European perspective

Author : Pierre Mounier

A number of initiatives exist in European countries to support open scholarly communication in humanities and social sciences.

This article looks at the work of Open Access in the European Research Area through Scholarly Communication (OPERAS), a consortium of 36 partners from all over Europe, including many university presses, that is working to build a future European infrastructure to address the challenges in open access publishing.

Their initial study, OPERAS‐D, revealed a variety of models among the partners influenced by national cultures. Although the partners’ activities were found to be fragmented, they also reflect the ‘bibliodiversity’ that exists in European societies.

To address the challenge of fragmentation, it is argued that, by following a cooperative model, European actors can benefit by sharing expertise, resources, and costs of development for the good of all.

As a future infrastructure to support open scholarly communication across Europe, OPERAS aims to coordinate a range of publishers and service providers to offer researchers and societies a fully functional web of services to cover the entire research lifecycle.


The Scientific Prize Network Predicts Who Pushes the Boundaries of Science

Authors : Yifang Ma, Brian Uzzi

Scientific prizes are among the greatest recognition a scientist receives from their peers and arguably shape the direction of a field by conferring credibility to persons, ideas, and disciplines, providing financial rewards, and promoting rituals that reinforce scientific communities.

The proliferation of prizes and links among prizes suggest that the prize network embodies information about scientists and ideas poised to grow in acclaim. Using comprehensive new data on prizes and prizewinners worldwide and across disciplines, we examine the growth dynamics and interlocking relationships found in the worldwide scientific prize network.

We focus on understanding how the knowledge linkages among prizes and scientists’ propensities for prizewinning are related to knowledge pathways across disciplines and stratification within disciplines.

We find several key links between prizes and scientific advances.

First, despite a proliferation of diverse prizes over time and across the globe, prizes are more concentrated within a relatively small group of scientific elites, and ties within the elites are more clustered, suggesting that a relatively constrained number of ideas and scholars lead science.

Second, we find that certain prizes are strongly interlocked within and between disciplines by scientists who win multiple prizes, revealing the key pathways by which knowledge systematically gains credit and spreads through the network.

Third, we find that genealogical and co authorship networks strongly predict who wins one or more prizes and explains the high level of interconnections among acclaimed scientists and their path breaking ideas.


Identifiers for Digital Objects: the Case of Software Source Code Preservation

Authors : Roberto Di Cosmo, Morane Gruenpeter, Stefano Zacchiroli

In the very broad scope addressed by digital preservation initiatives, a special place belongs to the scientific and technical artifacts that we need to properly archive to enable scientific reproducibility.

For these artifacts we need identifiers that are not only unique and persistent, but also support integrity in an intrinsic way. They must provide strong guarantees that the object denoted by a given identifier will always be the same, without relying on third parties and external administrative processes.

In this article, we report on our quest for this identifiers for digital objects (IDOs), whose properties are different from, and complementary to, those of the various digital identifiers of objects (DIOs) that are in widespread use today.

We argue that both kinds of identifiers are needed and present the framework for intrinsic persistent identifiers that we have adopted in Software Heritage for preserving billions of software artifacts.