The simultaneous evolution of author and paper networks

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Apr 6;101 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):5266-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0307625100. Epub 2004 Feb 19.


There has been a long history of research into the structure and evolution of mankind's scientific endeavor. However, recent progress in applying the tools of science to understand science itself has been unprecedented because only recently has there been access to high-volume and high-quality data sets of scientific output (e.g., publications, patents, grants) and computers and algorithms capable of handling this enormous stream of data. This article reviews major work on models that aim to capture and recreate the structure and dynamics of scientific evolution. We then introduce a general process model that simultaneously grows coauthor and paper citation networks. The statistical and dynamic properties of the networks generated by this model are validated against a 20-year data set of articles published in PNAS. Systematic deviations from a power law distribution of citations to papers are well fit by a model that incorporates a partitioning of authors and papers into topics, a bias for authors to cite recent papers, and a tendency for authors to cite papers cited by papers that they have read. In this TARL model (for topics, aging, and recursive linking), the number of topics is linearly related to the clustering coefficient of the simulated paper citation network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • National Academy of Sciences, U.S.*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends
  • Publications / trends*
  • Science / trends
  • United States