Coauthorship links actors at the micro-level of scientists. Through electronic databases we now have enough information to compare entire research disciplines over time. We compare the complete longitudinal coauthorship networks for four research disciplines (biotechnology, mathematics, physics and sociology) for 1986–2005. We examined complete bibliographies of all researchers registered at the national Slovene Research Agency. Known hypotheses were confirmed as were three new hypotheses. There were different coauthoring cultures. However, these cultures changed over time in Slovenia. The number of coauthored publications grew much faster than solo authored productions, especially after independence in 1991 and the integration of Slovenian science into broader EU systems. Trajectories of types of coauthorship differed across the disciplines. Using blockmodeling, we show how coauthorship structures change in all disciplines. The most frequent form was a core-periphery structure with multiple simple cores, a periphery and a semi-periphery. The next most frequent form had this structure but with bridging cores. Bridging cores consolidate the center of a discipline by giving it greater coherence. These consolidated structures appeared at different times in different disciplines, appearing earliest in physics and latest in biotechnology. In 2005, biotechnology had the most consolidated center followed by physics and sociology. All coauthorship networks expanded over time. By far, new recruits went into either the semi-periphery or the periphery in all fields. Two ‘lab’ fields, biotechnology and physics, have larger semi-peripheries than peripheries. The reverse holds for mathematics and sociology, two ‘office’ disciplines. Institutional affiliations and shared interests all impact the structure of collaboration in subtle ways.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 26, 2011
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