Fig 17, identifying collaboration brokers using the network structure of co-authorships: A frequent problem when assessing the impact and productivity of a given researcher is that the metrics used typically end up being something like number of citations and/or number of research outputs. Whereas these metrics are certainly relevant, they are very narrow, and do not account for the multiple types of roles that a research can take.
For example, some researchers spend energy and time building bridges between different knowledge areas and research groups. By means of doing that, they are creating value facilitating critical information flows and enabling recombinant innovation. However, this activity can be riskier and takes energy that could be used writing within a narrower field, and hence possibly getting more papers out.
In figure 17 we see how, in general, the more research outputs a researcher has, the higher it is its brokerage indicator. People above the diagonal tend to focus their collaborations within narrower research groups that exist in tighter clusters. In turn people below the diagonal tend to produce research outputs collaborating with a more diverse group that goes beyond their own natural neighbors.
This brokerage profile, alongside the more general profile described before, can be used in times of crisis as a way of identifying those that are in a better position to act as bridges between different knowledge areas and institutions, something that can be used accelerate the response rate and facilitate drawing resources and capabilities that might not be locally available.