Evolution and structure of scientific co-publishing network in Korea between 1948-2011

This study investigates the evolution and structure of a national-scale co-publishing network in Korea from 1948 to 2011. We analyzed more than 700,000 papers published by approximately 415,000 authors for temporal changes in productivity and network properties with a yearly resolution. The resulting statistical properties were compared to findings from previous studies of coauthorship networks at the national and discipline levels. Our results show that both the numbers of publications and authors in Korea have grown exponentially in a 64 year time frame. Korean scholars have become more productive and collaborative. They now form a small-world-ish network where most authors can connect with one other within an average of 5.33 degrees of separation. The increasingly skewed distribution and concentration of both productivity and the number of collaborators per author indicate that a relatively small group of individuals have accumulated a large number of opportunities for co-publishing. This implies a potential vulnerability for the network and its wider context: the graph would disintegrate into a multitude of smaller components, where the largest one would contain <2Â % of all authors, if approximately 15Â % (57,724) of the most connected scholars left the network, e.g., due to retirement or promotion to higher-level administrative positions.