V. Leone Sciabolazza, R. Vacca, T. Kennelly Okraku, C. McCarty (2017), Detecting and analyzing research communities in longitudinal scientific networks, Plos One, 12(8), e0182516

A growing body of evidence shows that collaborative teams and communities tend to produce the highest-impact scientific work. This paper proposes a new method to (1) Identify collaborative communities in longitudinal scientific networks, and (2) Evaluate the impact of specific research institutes, services or policies on the interdisciplinary collaboration between these communities. First, we apply community-detection algorithms to cross-sectional scientific collaboration networks and analyze different types of co-membership in the resulting subgroups over time. This analysis summarizes large amounts of longitudinal network data to extract sets of research communities whose members have consistently collaborated or shared collaborators over time. Second, we construct networks of cross-community interactions and estimate Exponential Random Graph Models to predict the formation of interdisciplinary collaborations between different communities. The method is applied to longitudinal data on publication and grant collaborations at the University of Florida. Results show that similar institutional affiliation, spatial proximity, transitivity effects, and use of the same research services predict higher degree of interdisciplinary collaboration between research communities. Our application also illustrates how the identification of research communities in longitudinal data and the analysis of cross-community network formation can be used to measure the growth of interdisciplinary team science at a research university, and to evaluate its association with research policies, services or institutes.

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V. Leone Sciabolazza (2018), A Net of Moving People: Network Analysis of International Migration Flows, In A. Amighini, S. Gorgoni, M. Smith, Networks of International Trade and Investment, Vernon Press

This paper delves into the determinants of global migration flows by applying a social network methodology. In order to explicitly address the multidimensional aspects of this phenomenon, I employ data on bilateral flows between 169 countries from 1990 through 2010 in combination with information about language and colonial history of each population, and bilateral distance between countries. With respect to traditional approaches, the underlying mechanism characterizing the international migration network (IMN) is described using a data driven approach which takes into account both bilateral and multilateral resistances to migration. To enhance the understanding of the relationships occurring between countries, I analyze contextual effects at different granularity levels and use graph theory to explore the topological properties of the IMN. Overall, complementing existing literature, the results suggest that the IMN is characterized by a strongly persistent hierarchical architecture regardless the spatial granularity of the data. Few countries, both at the local and at the global level, control the whole connectivity of the network, with a prevalence of star-like structures. In terms of network analysis, this means that human international migration patterns can be described by a modular structure displaying high geographical clustering, where the preferential attachment mechanism is driven by cultural homophily (i.e. same language or colonial past) and economic disassortativity (e.g. migration, conditional on distance, take place between countries which differ in terms of GDP). The persistence of this topological structure over time is consistent with a well-established finding in literature, that is the presence of a self-reinforcing process on the intensive margin of the IMN. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates that the level of embeddedness of one country in the IMN is a powerful source of information to improve and further unfold the dynamics underlying migratory processes and its multilateral resistances. With this respect, SNA provides an appropriate theoretical framework of analysis that can be used to extend this study in many innovative ways.

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V. Leone Sciabolazza, R. Vacca, L. De Benedictis, The Effect of Network Ethnic Segregation on Wage Formation: The Case of Sri-Lankan Immigrants in the City of Milan, Italy. [Submitted]

This paper delves into the effect of social networks on the economic attainment of immigrants. Using data from a survey on personal networks and daily activity spaces of Sri Lankan immigrants in Milan, Italy, our results confirm that access to distant and diverse social circles bear distinct positive effects on immigrants’ socioeconomic attainment. However, the highest benefits in terms of wage income are associated with either high levels of social network integration in the Italian society, or high levels of network segregation within the Sri Lankan community. Moving from having friends which are fully segregated in the Sri Lankan community to friends relatively more integrated is initially costly and becomes more beneficial only after a threshold is reached. This gives evidence to a rational for the persistence of ethnic niches in a decentralized local labour market.

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