The impact of personal co-authorship networks on the citation distribution within academic communities

Open Seminar
The impact of personal co-authorship networks on the citation distribution within academic communities

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Friday, the 4th of November, starting from 15,00 (Room 205, 90 Panduri St.)

An open seminar on personal co-authorship networks and citations will be organized by The Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB, the Social Sciences Division). The keynote will be given by Dr. Marian-Gabriel Hancean (ICUB fellow) and focused on the co-authorship practices in the field of academic sociology (Romania, Slovenia and Poland).
During the last two decades, the pressure for resource allocation on performance criteria heavily intensified. The practice of measuring the impact of scientific productivity has become pivotal in the construction of individual and supra-individual academic hierarchies (e.g. university department ranking, university classifications and rankings). With the emergence of online open source data archives, the tools for scientific productivity assessment have diversified and increased their level of sophistication. The availability of information technology has made possible the transition from scientific productivity variables (e.g. counting research papers and projects, the participations in research teams, etc.) to scientific productivity impact variables and indicators (e.g. number of citations; citations per article; algorithms for citation aggregation into a single number – such as Hirsch index, Egghe index or the average Hirsch scores of the co – authors etc.).
The hierarchies within academic communities are not solely the expression of the intrinsic quality of researchers. The allocation of rewards to scientists for their work was shown to be also highly affected by structural configurations or patterns. As Merton argues, in the world of science, there is a principle of cumulative advantage that operates: the rich get richer at a rate that makes the poor become relatively poorer. According to this principle (i.e. “The Matthew Effect”), the research impact of the scientists is also significantly affected by their structural position. Evidence shows that the Matthew Effect affects the patterns of scientific collaboration, of citations, of research productivity and impact, of career longevity, etc. Consequently, research impact (and accordingly research hierarchies) is the product of both scientists’ quality and of their structural position. From another stream, homophily (the selective preference of authors to co-sign based on a similarity prestige criterion) might be a factor to determine clivages inside the academic communities. Put it simple: birds of a feather… write together. Under the presence of homophily, national research funding policies are expected to strengthen the inequalities and the disparities within academic research populations.

Short BIO
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Marian-Gabriel Hâncean is Associate Professor at the Sociology Department of the University of Bucharest. His main research stream is focused on the antecedents and consequences of collaboration networks within national academic communities. He employs both sociocentric and egocentric network research designs to investigate emergence and impact of co-authorship networks on prestige rankings in the world of science. Additionally, his research interests cover the multi-level network analysis (individual, organizations, institutions) and transnational social network analysis (resource flows inside transnational fields of migration). His most recent publication: Hâncean, M-G & Perc, M. Homophily in coauthorship networks of East European sociologists. Scientific Reports – Nature (2016).

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