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  • 1 School of Economics and Management, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot, People's Republic of China
  • 2 School of Management, Graduate University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China
  • 3 School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
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Abstract

This paper introduces a diffusion network model: an individual-citation-based directed network model with a time dimension, as a potentially useful approach to capture the diffusion of research topics. The approach combines social network analysis, network visualization and citation analysis to discuss some of the issues concerning the spread of scientific ideas. The process of knowledge diffusion is traced from a network point of view. Using research on the h-index as a case study, we built detailed networks of individual publications and demonstrated the feasibility of applying the diffusion network model to the spread of a research. The model shows the specific paths and associations of individual papers, and potentially complementing issues raised by epidemic models, which primarily deal with average properties of entire scientific communities. Also, based on the citation-based network, the technique of main path analysis identified the articles that influenced the research for some time and linked them into a research tradition that is the backbone of the h-index field.

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