Convexity in scientific collaboration networks

by   Lovro Šubelj, et al.

Convexity in a network (graph) has been recently defined as a property of each of its subgraphs to include all shortest paths between the nodes of that subgraph. It can be measured on the scale [0, 1] with 1 being assigned to fully convex networks. The largest convex component of a graph that emerges after the removal of the least number of edges is called a convex skeleton. It is basically a tree of cliques, which has been shown to have many interesting features. In this article the notions of convexity and convex skeletons in the context of scientific collaboration networks are discussed. More specifically, we analyze the co-authorship networks of Slovenian researchers in computer science, physics, sociology, mathematics, and economics and extract convex skeletons from them. We then compare these convex skeletons with the residual graphs (remainders) in terms of collaboration frequency distributions by various parameters such as the publication year and type, co-authors' birth year, status, gender, discipline, etc. We also show the top-ranked scientists by four basic centrality measures as calculated on the original networks and their skeletons and conclude that convex skeletons may help detect influential scholars that are hardly identifiable in the original collaboration network. As their inherent feature, convex skeletons retain the properties of collaboration networks. These include high-level structural properties but also the fact that the same authors are highlighted by centrality measures. Moreover, the most important ties and thus the most important collaborations are retained in the skeletons.


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