In this paper, the authors – researchers at Ibercivis Foundation, Institute of Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI) of the University of Zaragoza and the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science of the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU – address the study of citizen science publications in journals indexed by Web of Science (WoS), in particular how they have evolved in the last 20 years and the collaboration networks which have been created among the researchers in that time.

Article Analysis of the evolution and collaboration networks of citizen science scientific publications

That evolution can be analyzed, in a quantitative way, by the usual tools, such as the number of publications, authors, and impact factor of the papers, as well as the set of different research areas. However, as citizen science is a transversal concept which appears in almost all scientific disciplines, this analysis becomes a multifaceted problem which is only partially modelled with the usual bibliometric magnitudes. It is necessary to consider new tools to parametrize a set of complementary properties. That is why the authors address the study of the citizen science expansion and evolution through graph theory. They, thus, analyze the properties of the graphs which encode relations between scientists by studying co-authorship and the consequent networks of collaboration. The obtained results lead mainly to: (a) a better understanding of the current state of citizen science in the international academic system-by countries, by areas of knowledge, by interdisciplinary communities-as an increasingly legitimate expanding methodology, and (b) a greater knowledge of collaborative networks and their evolution, within and between research communities, which allows a certain margin of predictability as well as the definition of better cooperation strategies.

The article has been published in Scientometrics Journal (Springer Ed.) on its online first version in Open Access way. Therefore, the authors, committed to maximum openness to the dissemination and generation of knowledge, make it available to interested readers immediately. In particular it is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0 which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works, as long as the author of the original work is cited.

The research has been carried out by Maite Pelacho (Ibercivis, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science of the UPV/EHU), Gonzalo Ferrer (BIFI), Francisco Sanz (Ibercivis), Alfonso Tarancón (BIFI, Department of Theoretical Physics of the University of Zaragoza and Jesús Clemente-Gallardo (Ibercivis, BIFI, Department of Theoretical Physics of the University of Zaragoza).

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To cite this article in its online first version:

Pelacho, M., Ruiz, G., Sanz, F. et al. Analysis of the evolution and collaboration networks of citizen science scientific publications. Scientometrics (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03724-x