Finding scientific communities in citation graphs: Articles and authors

Shreya Chandrasekharan, Mariam Zaka, Stephen Gallo, Wenxi Zhao, Dmitriy Korobskiy, Tandy Warnow, George Chacko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the nature and organization of scientific communities is of broad interest. The “Invisible College” is a historical metaphor for one such type of community that refers to a small group of scientists working on a problem of common interest. The scientific and social behavior of such colleges has been the subject of case studies that have examined limited samples of the scientific enterprise. We introduce a metamethod for large-scale discovery that consists of a pipeline to select themed article clusters, whose authors can then be analyzed. A sample of article clusters produced by this pipeline was reviewed by experts, who inferred significant thematic relatedness within clusters, suggesting that authors linked to such clusters may represent valid communities of practice. We explore properties of the author communities identified by our pipeline, and the publication and citation practices of both typical and highly influential authors. Our study reveals that popular domain-independent criteria for graphical cluster quality must be carefully interpreted in the context of searching for author communities, and also suggests a role for contextual criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-203
Number of pages20
JournalQuantitative Science Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 8 2021


  • Citation graph
  • Clustering
  • Community finding
  • Invisible College
  • Scientific organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Analysis
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Numerical Analysis


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