Over-time measurement of triadic closure in coauthorship networks

Applying the concept of triadic closure to coauthorship networks means that scholars are likely to publish a joint paper if they have previously coauthored with the same people. Prior research has identified moderate to high (20 to 40%) closure rates; suggesting this mechanism is a reasonable explanation for tie formation between future coauthors. We show how calculating triadic closure based on prior operationalizations of closure, namely Newman's measure for one-mode networks (NCC) and Opsahl's measure for two-mode networks (OCC) may lead to higher amounts of closure compared to measuring closure over time via a metric that we introduce and test in this paper. Based on empirical experiments using four large-scale, longitudinal datasets, we find a lower bound of 1-3% closure rates and an upper bound of 4-7%. These results motivate research on new explanatory factors for the formation of coauthorship links.