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From cut-points to key players in co-authorship networks: a case study in ventilator-associated pneumonia research

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  • Gregorio González-Alcaide

    () (University of Valencia)

  • Héctor Pinargote

    (General University Hospital of Alicante)

  • José M. Ramos

    (Miguel Hernandez University of Elche de Elche)

Abstract

In co-authorship networks, some nodes play the key role of cut-point, facilitating the integration of other authors and favoring connectivity among different research communities. The present study uses bibliometric and network embeddedness indicators to analyze the scientific activity on ventilator-associated pneumonia and the roles of 17 research communities and 30 cut-points therein. In addition to fostering network connectivity and cohesion, cut-points are characterized by other differential features compared to other authors, including a much higher level of productivity and greater participation in leadership positions, higher betweenness values, lower clustering coefficients and higher levels of constraint. The cut-points identified have different characteristics in terms of the connectivity they facilitate between research communities: some cut-points have established weak intercommunity ties in the form of bridges with a single author from a different community; in other cases, they serve as gatekeepers due to their connection with different authors of a community that they link with their own; cut-points may also act as structural folds, that is, actors with an overlapping role between two cohesive communities. The cut-points present very diverse connectivity degrees, with some cut-points whose elimination would provoke severe network fragmentation and others who are responsible for linking far fewer external authors to their network. The cut-points that present both the main mechanisms for obtaining social capital—that is, filling structural holes and participating in cohesive network structures—can be considered key actors/players because their participation is crucial for ensuring both integration into the main research focus of some communities with high research performance and the overall cohesion of a co-authorship network.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregorio González-Alcaide & Héctor Pinargote & José M. Ramos, 2020. "From cut-points to key players in co-authorship networks: a case study in ventilator-associated pneumonia research," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 123(2), pages 707-733, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:123:y:2020:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-020-03404-w
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-020-03404-w
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