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Using co-authorship and citation analysis to identify research groups: a new way to assess performance


  • Leonardo Reyes-Gonzalez


  • Claudia N. Gonzalez-Brambila

    () (Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico)

  • Francisco Veloso

    (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa)


Considering that modern science is conducted primarily through a network of collaborators who organize themselves around key researchers, this research develops and tests a characterization and assessment method that recognizes the particular endogenous, or self-organizing characteristics of research groups. Instead of establishing an ad-hoc unit of analysis and assuming an unspecified network structure, the proposed method uses knowledge footprints, based on backward citations, to measure and compare the performance/productivity of research groups. The method is demonstrated by ranking research groups in Physics, Applied Physics/Condensed Matter/Materials Science and Optics in the leading institutions in Mexico, the results show that the understanding of the scientific performance of an institution changes with a more careful account for the unit of analysis used in the assessment. Moreover, evaluations at the group level provide more accurate assessments since they allow for appropriate comparisons within subfields of science. The proposed method could be used to better understand the self-organizing mechanisms of research groups and have better assessment of their performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Reyes-Gonzalez & Claudia N. Gonzalez-Brambila & Francisco Veloso, 2016. "Using co-authorship and citation analysis to identify research groups: a new way to assess performance," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(3), pages 1171-1191, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:108:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-016-2029-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-016-2029-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Nguyen, Minh-Hoang & Vuong, Quan-Hoang, 2020. "Evaluation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets: The international collaboration trilemma in interdisciplinary research," OSF Preprints 84j76, Center for Open Science.
    6. Fernando J. Garrigos-Simon & M. Dolores Botella-Carrubi & Tomas F. Gonzalez-Cruz, 2018. "Social Capital, Human Capital, and Sustainability: A Bibliometric and Visualization Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-19, December.
    7. Fernando J. Garrigos-Simon & Yeamduan Narangajavana-Kaosiri & Yeamdao Narangajavana, 2019. "Quality in Tourism Literature: A Bibliometric Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(14), pages 1-22, July.
    8. Huchang Liao & Ming Tang & Li Luo & Chunyang Li & Francisco Chiclana & Xiao-Jun Zeng, 2018. "A Bibliometric Analysis and Visualization of Medical Big Data Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(1), pages 1-18, January.
    9. Leonardo Reyes Gonzalez & Claudia N González Brambila & Francisco Veloso, 2018. "Birth of prominent scientists," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(3), pages 1-23, March.
    10. Zewen Hu & Angela Lin & Peter Willett, 2019. "Identification of research communities in cited and uncited publications using a co-authorship network," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 118(1), pages 1-19, January.
    11. Nguyen, Minh-Hoang & Pham, Thanh-Hang & Huyen, Nguyen Thanh Thanh & Ho, Manh-Toan & Vuong, Quan-Hoang, 2020. "Western ideological homogeneity in entrepreneurial finance research: Evidence from highly cited publications," OSF Preprints sk3e6, Center for Open Science.

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