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Abstract

This article introduces a team-based model of researchers in a specialty and investigates the manifestation of such teams in a specialty's literature. The proposed qualitative behavioral model, with its mathematical expression as a growth model, is significant because it simultaneously describes the two phenomena of collaboration and author productivity (Lotka's law) in a specialty. The model is nested: A team process models the creation of research teams and the success-breeds-success process of their production of articles, while at a lower level the productivity of authors within teams is also modeled as a success-breeds-success process. Interteam collaboration (weak ties) is modeled as random events. This simple growth model is shown to faithfully mimic six network metrics of bipartite article-author networks. The model is demonstrated on three example article collections from specialties that have a wide range of degree of collaboration: (a) a distance education collection with low collaboration degree, (b) a complex networks collection with typical collaboration degree, and (c) an atrial ablation collection with heavy collaboration degree.