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The Sigelman Number

- February 6, 2010

Lee’s memorial service was today; we’ll have more, and more substantive posts on it soon. But one thing that I learned to my surprise was that Lee had had over 200 collaborators on his published work (he had, I think, around 280 published articles). Could that be a record for political science? It certainly is more than a couple of standard deviations from the mean. Nor were these collaborators limited to a specific corner of political science (this would have been hard; no corner of political science that I know has 200 odd research active faculty); Lee was notably catholic in his interests and his collaborators (although he had some basic standards – he never collaborated with me . This history is reminiscent of that of the even-more prolific mathematician “Paul Erd?s”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C5%91s. Some mathematicians publicize their ‘Erd?s number’ – those who collaborated directly with him have a number of 1, those who have collaborated with collaborators have a number of 2 and so on. I suspect that Lee would be pretty centrally located in any mapping of co-authorship networks in political science – would it make sense for political scientists to calculate their Sigelman number? Fwiw, mine would be 2 (through Melissa Schwartzberg, Eric Lawrence and maybe others too).

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