- Betweenness centrality as a driver of preferential attachment in the evolution of research collaboration networks
- Journal of Informetrics
- Volume | Issue number
- 6 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
We analyze whether preferential attachment in scientific coauthorship networks is different for authors with different forms of centrality. Using a complete database for the scientific specialty of research about "steel structures," we show that betweenness centrality of an existing node is a significantly better predictor of preferential attachment by new entrants than degree or closeness centrality. During the growth of a network, preferential attachment shifts from (local) degree centrality to betweenness centrality as a global measure. An interpretation is that supervisors of PhD projects and postdocs broker between new entrants and the already existing network, and thus become focal to preferential attachment. Because of this mediation, scholarly networks can be expected to develop differently from networks which are predicated on preferential attachment to nodes with high degree centrality.
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