Choosing Collaboration Partners. How Scientific Success in Physics Depends on Network Positions

Authors : Raphael H. Heiberger, Oliver J. Wieczorek

Physics is one of the most successful endeavors in science. Being a prototypic big science it also reflects the growing tendency for scientific collaborations. Utilizing 250,000 papers from a prepublishing platform prevalent in Physics we construct large coauthorship networks to investigate how individual network positions influence scientific success.

In this context, success is seen as getting a paper published in high impact journals of physical subdisciplines as compared to not getting it published at all or in rather peripheral journals only.

To control the nested levels of authors and papers, and to consider the time elapsing between working paper and prominent journal publication we employ multilevel eventhistory models with various network measures as covariates. Our results show that the maintenance of even a moderate number of persistent ties is crucial for scientific success.

Also, even with low volumes of social capital Physicists who occupy brokerage positions enhance their chances of articles in high impact journals significantly. Surprisingly, inter(sub)disciplinary collaborations decrease the probability of getting a paper published in specialized journals for almost all positions.