Wednesday, December 9.

Scientific Networks and Success

An (online) Satellite Workshop of CCS 2020

Every researcher is affected by how scientific performance is measured. How should it be measured? Do we have the right data to do it?

Data is gaining importance in scientific evaluation, but it can be both used and abused to guide hiring decisions as well as national research policy. Very sophisticated success measures have been developed. However, do they measure what they claim and if so, how much of the tedious research efforts do they really reflect?

Modern research is also a team sport which is shaped by various social forces. Collaborations affect the success of individual scientists. Additionally, scientific success and careers depend on mobility across countries and research institutions. Indeed, academic careers span different spatial scales, e.g., countries, cities and institutions. To better understand these phenomena, new models and methods have emerged from the collaboration of experts from different fields, taking a complex systems perspective.

This half day-long Satellite Workshop is a forum to discuss and present these developments critically.


Session 1: Scientific Collaborations and Success

Modern science is increasingly carried out in collaborations, which affect scientific output and success. Notably, these collaborations are not centrally managed, but are formed by individual scientists. When considering all these collaboration decisions, an evolving collaboration network emerges. To understand the interplay between this network and scientific success, we will have one invited speakers (Dr. Riccardo Gallotti) and two contributed talks.

Session 2: Measuring Success in Science

The main metrics used to quantify scientific success are citation counts, h-index, and the impact factor of journals. Even though scientometricians are aware of the shortcomings and faultiness of these metrics, the scientific community still relies on them.

One major shortcoming is that different scientific fields have different citation cultures. For example, Fields medal winners might have fewer citations, a smaller h-index than a less accomplished scientist working in molecular biology. Another problem is the notorious cumulative advantage of scientists that have older publications: older publications have more time to attract citations. If we naively use citation data to develop success metrics, we are unable to capture the impact of scientists.

In our satellite, one invited speaker (Prof. Ludo Waltmann) and two contributed speakers will present recent advances to address these problems and quantify scientific success.

Session 3: Understanding Scientific Careers

To understand scientists' careers many factors must be considered, e.g., social networks, geographic distance, institutional prestige, mentorship. For example, the social network of a scientists can positively affect his/her visibility. On the other hand geographical and institutional constraints can limit access to career opportunities. Prof. Alexander Petersen and two contributed talks will address this issue.

Call for Contributions

If you are a researcher working on the topics listed in the 3 sessions we would like to hear from you. We welcome short abstracts of published and unpublished works for inclusion as contributed talks. Please send us your abstract by email ( with "CCS2020-SNS" in the subject.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Biases and strategies in scientific publishing

  • Ranking of universities, journals and papers

  • Biases in citation-based measures

  • Scientists' migration/mobility and their impact

  • Scientists' careers

Contributed talks will last 12 mins + 3 mins Q&A each.

Deadline: 14. November

Special Issue in: Advances in Complex Systems

The contributed talks will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of the journal Advances in Complex Systems (ACS).

Important dates
Abstract submission: 14. November
Feedback notification: 21. November
Paper submission deadline: 15. January, 2021

Responsible Editors: Prof. Alexander Petersen, Dr. Luca Verginer, Dr. Giacomo Vaccario

The Speakers

Prof. Ludo Waltman

Professor of Quantitative Science Studies at Leiden University

Prof. Alexander Petersen

Assistant professor in the Management of Complex Systems at UC Merced

Dr. Riccardo Gallotti

Researcher at CoMuNe Lab Fondazione Bruno Kessler



Prof. Frank Schweitzer

Professor at ETH Zürich

Dr. Giacomo Vaccario

Researcher at the Chair of Systems Design at ETH Zürich

Dr. Luca Verginer

Researcher at the Chair of Systems Design at ETH Zürich

Sign up for the Workshop!

Registration for this satellite is done through the Conference on Complex Systems, please sign up here. There are various options available, starting from as low as 20 for satellite registration.