The rise and fall of a research field is the cumulative outcome of its intrinsic scientific value and social coordination among scientists. The structure of the social component is quantifiable by the social network of researchers linked via coauthorship relations, which can be tracked through digital records. Here, we use such coauthorship data in theoretical physics and study their complete evolutionary trail since inception, with a particular emphasis on the early transient stages. We find that the coauthorship networks evolve through three common major processes in time: the nucleation of small isolated components, the formation of a treelike giant component through cluster aggregation, and the entanglement of the network by large-scale loops. The giant component is constantly changing yet robust upon link degradations, forming the network's dynamic core. The observed patterns are successfully reproducible through a network model.
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 2010 Aug 24|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics