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OSTIblog Articles in the coauthorship Topic

Why might the critical-point behavior of coauthorship networks be universal? The symmetry group of the associated concept space

In December 2008, Luis Bettencourt and David Kaiser reported their findings[1] from studies of research collaboration networks, which included their discovery that, as coauthorship networks in a particular field reach the point of forming a single giant component of interconnected authors that dwarfs all other coauthor groups in that field, the growth near that point depends in a universal way on the average number of coauthors per author.  In particular, the fraction of coauthor links that belong to the giant component appears to be proportional to ( - kc)0.35, where kc, which marks the critical point, depends on the research field.[2]  The remarkable fact is that the exponent, 0.35, fits the data for networks in several quite distinct fields.  This value apparently isn’t common to networks in general, though.  I had wondered what features of a network do determine the exponent’s value. 

Many physical systems exhibit critical-point transitions like the formation of a giant component in networks—e.g., iron magnets lose their magnetism at a certain critical temperature, and the sharp difference between the densities of water and water vapor disappears above a critical pressure. ...

Related Topics: bettencourt, coauthorship, kaiser