The strength of strong ties in scientific collaboration networks
BECS, Aalto University School of Science - P.O. Box 12200, FI-00076, Finland, EU
Accepted: 28 November 2011
Network topology and its relationship to tie strengths may hinder or enhance the spreading of information in social networks. We study the correlations between tie strengths and topology in networks of scientific collaboration, and show that these are very different from ordinary social networks. For the latter, it has earlier been shown that strong ties are associated with dense network neighborhoods, while weaker ties act as bridges between these. Because of this, weak links act as bottlenecks for the diffusion of information. We show that on the contrary, in co-authorship networks dense local neighborhoods mainly consist of weak links, whereas strong links are more important for overall connectivity. The important role of strong links is further highlighted in simulations of information spreading, where their topological position is seen to speed up spreading dynamics. Thus, in contrast to ordinary social networks, weight-topology correlations enhance the flow of information across scientific collaboration networks.
PACS: 89.75.Hc – Networks and genealogical trees / 05.45.-a – Nonlinear dynamics and chaos / 89.75.Fb – Structures and organization in complex systems
© EPLA, 2012