Scientific success from the perspective of the strength of weak ties

7 Oct 2021  ·  Agata Fronczak, Maciej J. Mrowinski, Piotr Fronczak ·

We present the first complete confirmation of Granovetter's theory of social networks using a massive dataset. For this purpose, we study a scientific collaboration network, which is considered one of the most important examples that contradicts the universality of this theory... We achieve this goal by rejecting the assumption of the symmetry of social ties. Our approach is grounded in well-established heterogeneous (degree-based) mean-field theory commonly used to study dynamical processes on complex networks. Granovetter's theory is based on two hypotheses that assign different roles to interpersonal, information-carrying connections. The first hypothesis states that strong ties carrying the majority of interaction events are located mainly within densely connected groups of people. The second hypothesis maintains that these groups are connected by sparse weak ties that are of vital importance for the diffusion of information - individuals who have access to weak ties have an advantage over those who do not. Given the scientific collaboration network, with strength of directed ties measured by the asymmetric fraction of joint publications, we show that scientific success is strongly correlated with the structure of a scientist's collaboration network. First, among two scientists, with analogous achievements, the one with weaker ties tends to have the higher h-index, and second, teams connected by such ties create more valuable publications. read more

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Physics and Society Disordered Systems and Neural Networks