Six degrees of separation on Nature Network

A March 13 Nature News article (Six degrees of messaging) talks about a study on Microsoft Messenger chat users. Any random two Microsoft Messenger users (out of about 240 million) could be connected two each other via an average of 6 users that have chatted with each other.

This study is just another confirmation of the six degrees of separation concept. A 2001 PNAS paper found the same for scientific collaboration networks, using common authorship for a paper as connector. The mean distance of two random authors in the MEDLINE database was 4.6.

Based on these findings, you can almost expect the same connections through joint authorship between two random Nature Network members. Now if I could only find a tool that would help with that task. Not everybody is a mathematician and can simply calculate his Erdös number right from the American Mathematical Society website.

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4 Responses to Six degrees of separation on Nature Network

  1. Bob O'Hara says:

    This sounds like a challenge! But not one I feel capable of engaging.
    I guess if you can write a web crawler that searches the network for everybody’s name and the DOIs of the publications they list, then it would be simple to compare DOIs. But don’t ask me how to do that.

  2. Raf Aerts says:

    It’s maybe worth suggesting this to google labs.

  3. Martin Fenner says:

    With a little Pubmed searching I easily found my 6 degrees of separation from one prominent Nature Network member:
    “Kushnir A”: — Schaffer PA — Dynlacht BD — Harlow E — Haber D — Isselbacher K — “Me”:

  4. Bob O'Hara says:

    Sorry, Raf. I’m only 4 away from you:
    *Aerts R*, Lerouge F, November E, *Lens L*, Hermy M, Muys B. (2007) _Biodivers Conserv_
    van Nuffel A., Tuyttens F.A.M., *van Dongen S.*, Talloen W., van Poucke E., Sonck B., *Lens L.* (2007) _Poultry science_
    *Söderman Fredrik, van Dongen Stefan*, Pakkasmaa Susanna, *Merilä Juha* (2007) _Oecologia_
    *Merilä J, Söderman F*, *O’Hara R*, Räsänen K, Laurila A. (2004) _Conservation Genetics_
    I might be closer if you’ve written something with your ant people.