Social network analysis as a field of invasions: bibliographic approach to study SNA development
In this paper, the results of a study on the development of social network analysis (SNA) and its evolution over time, using the analysis of bibliographic networks are presented. The dataset consists of articles from the Web of Science Clarivate Analytics database obtained by searching for the keyword “social network*” and those published in the main journals in the field (in total 70,000+ publications). From the data, we constructed several networks. In this paper, the focus is on the analysis of the citation network. Analyzing the obtained network, we evaluated the SNA field’s growth and identified the most cited works. Using the normalized Search path count weights, we extracted the main path, key-route paths, and link islands in the citation network. Based on the probabilistic flow node values, we also identified the most important articles. Our results show that the number of published papers almost doubles each 3 years. We confirmed the finding that the authors from the social sciences, who were most active through the whole history of the field development, experienced the “invasion” of physicists from the 2000s. However, starting from the 2010s, a new very active group of animal social network analysts took the leading position.