Cad Saude Publica 2019 Apr 8;35(3):e00220217. Epub 2019 Apr 8.
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
The association between Zika and microcephaly drew international attention to Brazil. The emergency situation demanded speed and collective effort by researchers worldwide, and Science was quick to investigate the disease and publish the results. Scientific knowledge was created and disseminated through collaboration in this process. Publications are still the best way of disseminating scientific knowledge. They allow to record progress in a field of studies and observe how scientists collaborate to produce advances as new knowledge and technologies are generated. An effective way to map such advances is to analyze scientists' Social Networks (relationship and collaboration networks), since collaboration is currently an intrinsic characteristic of modern science. Co-authorship of publications is thus an important indicator of scientific collaboration for understanding progress in various areas of Science. The current study aimed to use a generalizable method for mapping and analyzing the Scientific Social Network formed in the domain of Zika, demonstrating how scientists collaborated to produce the main research results, identifying the leading research groups on Zika and the most influential researchers. Social Network Analysis was applied to the co-authorship networks formed from 2015 to 2016. The study showed that a Zika researcher's influence is basically determined by three factors: (a) number of publications; (b) diversified partnerships; and (c) the links established with the research area's pioneers.