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CENTRALITY METRICS AND GRADUATE PROGRAM EVOLUTION: THE CASE OF PRODUCTION ENGINEERING GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN BRAZIL

ABSTRACT

In Brazil, graduate courses are evaluated by the National Graduate Program System and regulated by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), an agency linked to the Ministry of Education (MEC). The intellectual production of the faculty of the programs is the main criteria in determining a program’s grade. In this study, we verified whether the grade attributed to the programs is dependent on the co-authorship network of the faculty of the program. Particularly, we analyze whether programs composed mostly by faculty members who cooperate in academic productions and have a more central position in the co-authorship network perform better than those with faculty with fewer collaboration. The paper concludes that there is a relation between the programs’ grade and the number of faculty members that collaborates in their intellectual productions. It is also concluded that programs that improved the grade are composed mainly of faculty members with high centrality or have few faculty members with low centrality measures. Moreover, programs that have decreased their grade are formed mainly by faculty members with low centrality measures or with few faculty members with high centrality measures.

Keywords:
co-authorship network; graduate programs; evaluation system; social networks

1 INTRODUCTION

A large part of the scientific publications carried out in Brazil comes from graduate programs. These, moreover, receive resources from governmental funding agencies such as the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cient´ıfico e Tecnológico (CNPq), which use, among other tools, the bibliometric data of the researchers to evaluate and distribute their funding to graduate programs and researchers. The evaluation of graduate programs is an essential activity that aims to ensure and maintain the quality of Masters and PhD courses in the country (CAPES, 201414 CAPES. 2014. Caracterização do sistema de avaliação da pós-graduação. Available at: http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/resultado-da-avaliacao-de-programas.html. January 16, 2019.
http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/result...
).

Among the evaluation criteria, Intellectual Production is the most relevant one in defining the programs’ classifications. Among the evaluation items of this criterion stands out: “Qualified publications by the faculty of the program” and “Distribution of qualified publications among the faculty members of the program”. Journals are classified by CAPES in a ranking, called QUALIS, according to criteria defined by each field of study to evaluate the quality of the scientific production of the programs. In this way, the productivity and quality of the papers published by the faculty of the programs are evaluated.

Studies, such as those by Eaton et al. (199917 EATON J, WARD J, KUMAR A & REINGEN P. 1999. Structural analysis of co-author relationships and author productivity in selected outlets for consumer behavior research. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 8(1): 39-59.) and Lee & Bozeman (200524 LEE S & BOZEMAN B. 2005. The impact of research collaboration on scientific productivity. Social studies of science, 35(5): 673-702.), point to a strong relationship between productivity and collaboration. Hart (200021 HART RL. 2000. Co-authorship in the academic library literature: a survey of attitudes and behaviors. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 26(5): 339-345.) research results show that collaboration leads to “improving the quality of publications”. Andrade & Rêgo (20157 ANDRADE R & RÊGO L. 2015. Conhecendo a rede de coautoria dos bolsistas de produtividade em pesquisa da área de engenharia de produção ea sua influência no nível de produtividade. In: XLVII Simpósio Brasileiro de Pesquisa Operacional-SBPO.) and Andrade & Rêgo (2017)8 ANDRADE RLD & RÊGO LC. 2017. Exploring the co-authorship network among cnpq’s productivity fellows in the area of industrial engineering. Pesquisa Operacional, 37(2): 277-310. indirectly also analyzed the effect of collaboration on productivity and quality of publications. They analyzed which Social Network Analysis metrics impact the productivity level of the researchers with CNPq grant in research productivity (PQ) in the area of Industrial Engineering. Cainelli et al. (201513 CAINELLI G, MAGGIONI MA, UBERTI TE & DE FELICE A. 2015. The strength of strong ties: How co-authorship affect productivity of academic economists? Scientometrics, 102(1): 673-699.) highlight Specialization, Multi-disciplinarity, Synergy, Opportunity cost of time, Risk diversification, Assigned value of co-authored papers and Social interactions and pressures as determinant factors and facilitators of co-authorship. These results led us to the following research questions: how does collaboration among faculty members impact the Intellectual Production of programs? More broadly, does collaboration impact the programs’ classifications?

Scientific research about co-authorship (development of the same paper by two or more authors) has a long history, however, analysis of the co-authorship network to explore scientific collaboration among authors is a relatively new area of research (Uddin et al., 201137 UDDIN S, HOSSAIN L, ABBASI A & RASMUSSEN K. 2011. Trend and efficiency analysis of co-authorship network. Scientometrics, 90(2): 687-699.). A co-authorship network is a type of social network in which nodes are the researchers and the edges can be formed by the various forms of collaboration existing in the scientific context. The analysis of the patterns, interactions and implications of social networks is facilitated by the use of Graph Theory, through a set of mathematical algorithms (Wasserman et al., 199438 WASSERMAN S, FAUST K ET AL. 1994. Social network analysis: Methods and applications. vol. 8. Cambridge university press.). Such an approach is known as Social Network Analysis (SNA). Through this approach, several recent publications have sought to analyze the performance of academic groups based on the structure and dynamics of the relationship among researchers.

The study by de Mello et al. (2010)15 DE MELLO C, CRUBELLATE J & ROSSONI L. 2010. Dinâmica de relacionamento e prováveis respostas estratégicas de programas brasileiros de pós-graduação em administração à avaliação da capes: proposições institucionais a partir da análise de redes de co-autorias. Revista de Administração. Contemporânea, 14(3): 434-457. analyzed the evolution of co-authoring networks among faculty members of Graduate Programs in Management, and the results showed an increase in co-authorship from one triennium to another (2001-2003 and 2004-2006). The results, from Digiampietri et al. (201416 DIGIAMPIETRI L, MENA-CHALCO J, DE MELO P, MALHEIRO A, MEIRA D, FRANCO L & OLIVEIRA L. 2014. Brax-ray: an x-ray of the brazilian computer science graduate programs. Plos One, 9(4): e94541.) about the Graduate Programs in Computer Science in Brazil and the relationships among them, indicate that programs with higher densities in co-authorship networks also have higher research productivity considering the period from 2004 to 2009. Martins et al. (201427 MARTINS CB, MACCARI EA, MARTINS SB & SERRA FA. 2014. The influence of co-authorship networks on the performance of graduate programs in the Brazilian evaluation system. In: Proceedings of PICMET’14 Conference: Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology; Infrastructure and Service Integration. pp. 1569-1584. IEEE.) analyzed the influence of the co-authorship network on the performance of graduate programs in the CAPES evaluation system, concluding that there is a positive relationship among the formation of co-authoring groups and the grades obtained by the programs studied. Andrade (20166 ANDRADE R. 2016. A influência das redes de coautoria na performance dos bolsistas de produtividade e nos programas de pós graduação em engenharia de produção. Master’s thesis. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.) analyzed the influence of the co-authorship network on the performance of Graduate Programs in Production Engineering in two three-year periods (2007-2009 and 2010-2012) and concluded that the strengthening or development of the Program depends on the co-authorship relations among faculty members of the same program. Amorim (20144 AMORIM R. 2014. Uma análise das redes de colaboração entre bolsistas de produtividade e entre programas de doutorado em estatística no brasil. Master’s thesis. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.) analyzed collaboration networks among doctoral programs in the area of Statistics in Brazil and showed that, simultaneously with the evolution of the networks of the programs, in the period from 2004 to 2012, there was also an evolution in the measures of the networks, as well as the number of collaborations. Abramo et al. (20133 ABRAMO G, CICERO T & D’ANGELO C. 2013. The impact of unproductive and top researchers on overall university research performance. Journal of Informetrics, 7(1): 166-175.) studied the impact of unproductive and top scientists on Italian university performance throught the dataset of all production in 2004-2008 and concluded that top performers impact more than non-productive researchers on university performance.

This paper aims to show how co-authorship networks influenced the development of graduate programs in the area of industrial engineering, called in Brazil as production engineering, in the last three evaluation periods made by CAPES. Specifically, we evaluated the contribution of the major SNA metrics in the evolution of the program classification grades. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. The next section gives a brief description of the evaluation system of the graduate programs in Brazil. Section 3 recalls the SNA metrics applied in this article. Section 4 describes the methodological procedures to build and analyze the network. Section 5 shows the SNA metrics obtained in the co-authoring networks of the graduate programs and the impact they have on the evolution of their classification grades for three different periods of evaluations. Section 6 sets out the conclusions and closes the article.

2 EVALUATION SYSTEM OF GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN BRAZIL

The evaluation of the National System of Graduate Programs (SNPG) in Brazil, an essential activity to ensure and maintain the quality of Masters and PhD courses in the country, came into force in 1998. This activity is guided by the Evaluation Board/CAPES and carried out with the participation of the academic-scientific community through ad-hoc consultants (CAPES, 201414 CAPES. 2014. Caracterização do sistema de avaliação da pós-graduação. Available at: http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/resultado-da-avaliacao-de-programas.html. January 16, 2019.
http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/result...
).

The evaluation system covers two processes (CAPES, 201414 CAPES. 2014. Caracterização do sistema de avaliação da pós-graduação. Available at: http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/resultado-da-avaliacao-de-programas.html. January 16, 2019.
http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/result...
):

  • Annual Monitoring - carried out in the period between the years of the four-year evaluations. The annual follow-up aims to promote a dialogue between CAPES and the institutions that promote masters and doctoral courses in order to guide the administration of the programs in a form that can raise their quality and to identify possible problems that can be corrected before the subsequent four-year evaluation.

  • Four-year Evaluation - is carried out at the end of each quadriennium. The evaluation results of each program are presented in the “Assessment Sheet” defined by the Technical-Scientific Council (CTC). The Assessment Sheet contains the various criteria, items evaluated, the attributes assigned to them and the respective comments and justifications of the organizing committee for giving each attribute. Further, in the end, it is attributed a grade corresponding to performance of the program in the quadriennium.1 1 Until 2012, the evaluation occurred in a three-year period. On December 11, 2014, the Higher Council of CAPES decided to change to a four-year evaluation process. The Council also approved a proposal for a mid-term review of a trend analysis of graduate programs. The grades range from 1 to 7 in increasing order. A course with a grade of less than 3 should be disqualified from the SNPG, while programs that achieve a grade of 3 or greater receive renewal of the “recognition” valid through the subsequent quadrennium. The grades superior to 4 are attributed only to programs that offer doctoral courses, and programs that achieve grades 6 or 7 must represent excellence in the area, recognized as programs of international level.

The criteria evaluated by the SNPG are: Program Proposal (10%); Faculty (20%); Student Body, Thesis and Dissertation (25%); Intellectual Production (35%) and Social Integration (10%). Intellectual Production presents the highest percentage in the programs’ grade. It is evaluated in terms of the following attributes: qualified publications by the permanent faculty of the Program (50%); distribution of qualified publications among the permanent faculty members of the Program (30%); technical productions, patents and other production considered relevant (20%). Therefore, it is perceived that scientific production is an important criterion in the evaluation of graduate programs in Brazil.2 2 In December 2018, the Technical-Scientific Council for Higher Education of CAPES, in its 182nd meeting, approved the use of a new Assessment Sheet for the next evaluation, which involves three criteria: Program, Formation and Impact on Society. The weights of each one of the criteria have not been established yet, but scientific production has a significant impact on all criteria.

3 SNA METRICS

Let V be a finite nonempty set and EV×V a set of ordered pairs of elements of V. A graph is a pair G=(V, E), where V is known as the set of nodes of the graph and E is the set of links or edges between the nodes of the graph. A graph can be unweighted if all edges have the same strength or weighted, otherwise. If n=#V, vi, vjV and the graph is unweighted, the adjacent matrix, A, is an nxn binary matrix whose element, a(vi, vj), is defined as follows:

a ( v i , v j ) = 1 , if there is an edge from v i to v j , 0 , otherwise.

In the case of a weighted graph, we have that the weighted adjacent matrix of the graph is W=wvi, vjnxn, where w(vi, vj) is a non-negative weight of the edge between vi and vj. If there is no edge between vi and v j , then w(vi, vj)=0. Finally, an unweighted graph is called undirected if whenever a(vi, vj)=1, then a(vj, vi)=1. Otherwise, it is called directed. For a weighted graph to be undirected, it is necessary that for all nodes vi and vj, w(vi, vj)=w(vj, vi). If this is not the case, then it is directed.

A social network can be represented by a graph, where nodes are the actors or individuals in the network and the edges represent some relation between the actors. In particular, a social network of scientific collaboration can be represented by a graph where the nodes are the researchers and the edges represent the existence of some joint work between the researchers. The social network of scientific collaboration is unweigthed if the frequency or intensity of collaboration is not taken into consideration and is weighted, otherwise.

In the following subsections, we recall the definitions of some node centrality measures for weighted and unweighted networks. We focus on metrics for undirected networks since scientific collaboration is a symmetric relation.

3.1 Degree Centrality

Proposed by Freeman (197819 FREEMAN L. 1978. Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3): 215-239.), the degree centrality (DC) of node vi, denoted by Cd(vi), is given by the number of nodes adjacent to vertex vi. Formally, DC is given by:

C d ( v i ) = j = 1 n a ( v i , v j ) . (1)

The DC of node vi, in a weighted network, is given by the sum of all the weights of the edges involving node vi. For Newman (200429 NEWMAN ME. 2004. Coauthorship networks and patterns of scientific collaboration. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 101(suppl 1): 5200-5205.) and Barrat et al. (201410 BARRAT A, BARTHELEMY M, PASTOR-SATORRAS R & VESPIGNANI A. 2014. The architecture of complex weighted networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(11): 3747-3752.), the weighted DC (WDC) is given by:

C d w ( v i ) = j = 1 n w ( v i , v j ) . (2)

The DC is a simple and easy way to measure the local influence of a node (Abbasi et al. (20122 ABBASI A, HOSSAIN L & LEYDESDORFF L. 2012. Betweenness centrality as a driver of preferential attachment in the evolution of research collaboration networks. Journal of Informetrics, 6(3): 403-412.); Liu et al. (200526 LIU X, BOLLEN J, NELSON ML & VAN DE SOMPEL H. 2005. Co-authorship networks in the digital library research community. Information processing & management, 41(6): 1462-1480.)).

3.2 Closeness Centrality

In order to define closeness centrality, we need to recall what is a path between two nodes vi and v j in a network. A path between vi and v j is a sequence of nodes v0, v1, . . . , vk , where v0=vi, vk=vj and a(vi, vi+1)=1 , for i=0, 1, . . . , k1. The length of a path is given by the number of nodes in the sequence minus one. In the previous example, the path length is k. The geodesic distance between nodes vi and vj, denoted by d(vi, vj), is given by the shortest length of all paths from vi to vj.

For weighted networks, the weighted length of a path is given by the sum of the reciprocals of the weights of the edges linking consecutive nodes in the path and the weighted geodesic distance, dw(vi, vj), is the minimum weighted length among all paths from vi to vj.

The closeness centrality (CC) of node vi, denoted by Cc(vi), is given by Freeman (197819 FREEMAN L. 1978. Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3): 215-239.):

C c ( v i ) = 1 j d v i , v j . (3)

Larger values of Cc(vi) indicate smaller distances to the other nodes in the network, indicating that the node vi takes an important position in the network. In weighted networks, the weighted closeness centrality (WCC) is given by:

C c w ( v i ) = 1 j d w v i , v j . (4)

The closeness centrality of a node measures its independence and efficiency in the communication with other nodes in the network (Freeman, 197819 FREEMAN L. 1978. Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3): 215-239.).

3.3 Harmonic Centrality

The harmonic centrality (HC) is a modification of the CC, that is obtained by replacing the average (arithmetic) distance by the harmonic mean of all distances, even for disconnected nodes. The formal definition of the harmonic centrality for unweighted networks, proposed by (Rochat, 200934 ROCHAT Y. 2009. Closeness centrality extended to unconnected graphs: The harmonic centrality index. Tech. rep.. ASNA, EPFL-CONF-200525.), is given by:

C H ( v i ) = i j 1 d v i , v j . (5)

For weighted networks, the definition is given as follows:

C H w ( v i ) = i j 1 d w v i , v j . (6)

3.4 Betweenness Centrality

The betweenness centrality (BC) of vertex vi, denoted by Cb(vi), is given by (Freeman (197819 FREEMAN L. 1978. Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3): 215-239.); Wasserman et al. (199438 WASSERMAN S, FAUST K ET AL. 1994. Social network analysis: Methods and applications. vol. 8. Cambridge university press.)):

C b ( v i ) = j , k g ( v j , v i , v k ) g ( v j , v k ) . (7)

where g(vj, vk) is the number of shortest paths between vertices vj and vk and g(vj, vi, vk) is the number of shortest paths between vertices v j and vk going through vertex vi.

In a weighted network, the BC is given by:

C b w ( v i ) = j , k g w ( v j , v i , v k ) g w ( v j , v k ) . (8)

where gw(vj, vk) is the number of weighted shortest paths between vertices vj and vk and gw(vj, vi, vk) is the number of weighted shortest paths between vertices vj and vk going through vertex vi, considering the weighted distance, dw(vi, vj)..

The greater the BC of a node, the greater the capacity of the node to control the flow of information. According to Freeman (197819 FREEMAN L. 1978. Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3): 215-239.); Abbasi et al. (20122 ABBASI A, HOSSAIN L & LEYDESDORFF L. 2012. Betweenness centrality as a driver of preferential attachment in the evolution of research collaboration networks. Journal of Informetrics, 6(3): 403-412.), the BC is an indicator of the potential of a node to play the role of “mediator”.

3.5 Eigenvector Centrality

A metric of importance of the node in the network based on its connections, the eigenvector centrality is supported on the idea that a particular node will have high centrality if it is connected to vertices with central positions in the network (Bonacich, 198711 BONACICH P. 1987. Power and centrality: A family of measures. American Journal of Sociology, 92(5): 1170-1182.). In other words, the centrality of the vertex does not depend only on the number of adjacent vertices but also on the centrality of these vertices. Let λ be a constant, then the eigenvector centrality (EC) of node vi, denoted by Ce(vi), is given by:

C e ( v i ) = 1 λ j = 1 n a ( v i , v j ) C e ( v j ) . (9)

Using the vector notation, let X = (Ce(v1), Ce(v2). . . Ce(vn)) be the vector of eigenvector centralities. We can rewrite Equation 9 as λX=AX . By assuming that the eigenvector centrality takes only non-negative values (using the Perron-Frobenius theorem), it can be shown that λ is the largest eigenvalue of the adjacency matrix, where X is the corresponding eigenvector (Jackson, 200822 JACKSON M. 2008. Social and economic networks, princeton. Princeton univ.). In the case of weighted networks, the adjacency matrix is replaced by the weighted adjacency (Newman, 200429 NEWMAN ME. 2004. Coauthorship networks and patterns of scientific collaboration. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 101(suppl 1): 5200-5205.). And the eigenvector centrality is defined by:

C e w ( v i ) = 1 λ j = 1 n w ( v i , v j ) C e w ( v j ) . (10)

3.6 PageRank

PageRank is one metric used to rank web pages according to the interest and attention devoted to them (Page et al., 199932 PAGE L, BRIN S, MOTWANI R & WINOGRAD T. 1999. The PageRank citation ranking: Bringing order to the web. Tech. rep.. Stanford InfoLab.). PageRank takes into account the number and quality of links to a web page in order to determine how influential it is (Liu et al., 201525 LIU J, LI Y, RUAN Z, FU G, CHEN X, SADIQ R & DENG Y. 2015. A new method to construct co-author networks. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 419: 29-39.). Let TA be a web page and Ti be one of the web pages that has a link to TA. Brin & Page (199812 BRIN S & PAGE L. 1998. The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual web search engine. Computer networks and ISDN systems, 30(1): 107-117.) defined PageRank as follows:

P R ( T A ) = ( 1 δ ) + δ P R ( T 1 ) C ( T 1 ) + . . . + P R ( T n ) C ( T n ) , (11)

where PR(∗) is the PageRank of *, C(Ti) is the number of links leaving page Ti and δ is a damping factor (if a person randomly clicks on pages and eventually stops clicking, then δ is the probability that, at any given moment, the person will continue to click), which can be chosen in the interval (0, 1).

3.7 Utility

The study of Rêgo & dos Santos (201933 RÊGO LC & DOS SANTOS AM. 2019. Co-authorship model with link strength. European Journal of Operational Research, 272(2): 587-594.) on co-authorship networks proposed a new SNA metric, specific to this type of network. This metric evaluates the benefit or utility for a given author to be in a certain position in a co-authorship network. The Utility (UT) of node vi, denoted by Uw(vi), is given by:

U w ( v i ) = j w v i , v j C d w v i + w v i , v j C d w v j + w v i , v j 2 C d w v i C d w v j , (12)

where wvi, vj is the total number of works involving both authors i and j, Cdwvi and Cdwvj are the WDC of these authors, respectively.

The utility described above was based on the original model of the utility of Jackson & Wolinsky (199623 JACKSON M & WOLINSKY A. 1996. A strategic model of social and economic networks. Journal of Economic Theory, 71(1): 44-74.). The original metric does not take into account the number of works done between authors. Therefore, the utility of a particular node vi in an unweighted network is given by:

U ( v i ) = j 1 C d v i + 1 C d v j + 1 C d v i C d v j , (13)

where Cdvj and Cdvi are the DC of vertices vi and vj, respectively.

3.8 Local Clustering Coefficient

The local clustering coefficient (CL) measures the degree of the density of the neighborhood of connections of a given node, i.e., it corresponds to the degree to which the neighbors of a node interconnect (Barabási, 20159 BARABÁSI AEA. 2015. Network science. Cambridge university press.). The CL, in a co-authoring network, of a given node indicates how his collaborators are working together (Onel et al., 201130 ONEL S, ZEID A & KAMARTHI S. 2011. The structure and analysis of nanotechnology co-author and citation networks. Scientometrics, 89(1): 119-138.).

The clustering coefficient of node vi is the ratio between the number of triangles that contains node vi and the number of possible edges between the neighboring nodes. Let NTvi be the number of triangles (consists of three nodes connected by three links) containing node vi. For Onnela et al. (200531 ONNELA JP, SARAMÄKI J, KERTÉSZ J & KASKI K. 2005. Intensity and coherence of motifs in weighted complex networks. Physical Review E, 71(6): 065103.), the local cluster coefficient is defined as:

C L ( v i ) = 2 N T ( v i ) C d ( v i ) ( C d ( v i ) - 1 ) . (14)

The weighted local clustering coefficient was proposed by Onnela et al. (200531 ONNELA JP, SARAMÄKI J, KERTÉSZ J & KASKI K. 2005. Intensity and coherence of motifs in weighted complex networks. Physical Review E, 71(6): 065103.) and is given by:

C L w v i = 2 C d v i C d v i 1 j , k ( w ^ v i , v j w ^ v i , v k w ^ v j , v k 1 / 3 , (15)

where the weights of the edges are normalized by the maximum weight of the network, w^(vi, vj)=w(vi, vj)/maxvi,vjV(w(vi, vj)) and the contribution of each triangle depends on all the weights of the edges.

3.9 Summary of measures

Table 1 summarizes the social network measures described in this section.

Table 1
- Measures applied in a co-authorship network analysis

4 METHODOLOGY

The study, characterized as a descriptive research, associates the evolution or development of the performance of the Graduate Programs in Production Engineering (PPGEP) with regard to the grade attributed by CAPES to the principal centrality metrics of the social co-authorship network, where nodes represent all permanent faculty of all the PPGEP and their co-authors. A single network was built for each period of evaluation.

For the construction of the co-authorship network among PPGEP faculty members and their co-authors only journal publications by permanent faculty of some PPGEP were considered. Moreover, only publications in three periods of CAPES evaluation were considered: 2007-2009, 2010-2012 and 2013-2016. The following steps were taken:

  • Step 1 - Identification of PPGEP in the last three evaluations by CAPES. The PPGEP of the last three evaluations 2007-2009, 2010-2012 and 2013-2016 were extracted from the List of Recommended and Recognized Courses by CAPES corresponding to the Production Engineering area and that has the nomenclature of Production Engineering. Programs that although related to production engineering have other nomenclatures and extensions, such as Production Engineering and Systems or Industrial Engineering, were excluded from the analysis. In total, 20 programs were selected for the study;

  • Step 2 - Identification of permanent faculty, associated to each PPGEP. For each period of evaluation and for each Program, the list of permanent faculty was identified. Altogether, 336 faculty belonging to at least one PPGEP evaluated in the triennium 2007-2009 were identified, in the triennium 2010-2012, this number was 334 and finally in the last evaluation period 2013-2016 the number of permanent faculty raised to 352;

  • Step 3 - Identification of Lattes Curricula3 3 Lattes is a platform (lattes.cnpq.br), developed by the CNPq in Brazil, for the database integration of curricula of people working in academic or research institutions. 3 of each faculty identified in the previous step. Lattes IDs were obtained directly from faculty’s Lattes curriculum.

  • Step 4 - Extraction of the academic productions of each faculty. The scriptLattes, a free code tool designed for extracting and automatically compiling information contained in the Lattes Curricula (Mena-Chalco & Junior, 200928 MENA-CHALCO JP & JUNIOR RMC. 2009. ScriptLattes: an open-source knowledge extraction system from the Lattes platform. Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society, 15(4): 31-39.) was used to extract academic productions. In the text file, input source for the tool, included in each line, in this order and comma-separated: the Lattes ID; the name of the faculty; the period in which the faculty belonged to the Program, in each evaluation period; and the Program that it belongs to as a label. Among several files, the scriptLattes generates a list of publications made in co-authorship, a list of co-authors and co-authorship relationships.

  • Step 5 - Calculation of SNA metrics. With the co-authoring file, generated by scriptLattes, weighted and non-weighted metrics were obtained using NetworkX (Hagberg et al., 200820 HAGBERG AA, SCHULT DA & SWART PJ. 2008. Exploring network structure, dynamics, and function using networkx. In: VAROQUAUX G, VAUGHT T & MILLMAN J (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th Python in Science Conference. pp. 11-15. Pasadena, CA USA.), which consists of a set of open codes developed in Python language (Team, 201536 TEAM PC. 2015. Python: A dynamic, open source programming language. Python Software Foundation. Available at: https://www.python.org/.
    https://www.python.org/...
    ).

  • Step 6 - Partition of the PPGEP according to whether their grade had increased, decreased or remained constant.

The Chi-square test of association indicates whether two categorical variables are associated or not, i.e., it determines whether the distribution of observations of one variable varies depending on the category of the second variable.

Our first statistical analysis was to verify, by means of a Chi-square test, whether the number of faculty who carried out journal publications with or without co-authorship was associated with the evolution of the PPGEP grade in each period. For that, for each faculty in each period of evaluation, it was verified what was the evolution of the programs to which he belongs and if the faculty had a journal publication in co-authorship or not.4 4 In the very few cases, where a single faculty belonged in the same period to more than one PPGEP, he entered into all the analysis as a separate observation for each program that he belonged to.

The analysis was divided in two cases: one which only considered a co-authorship when at least two faculty members of the same program were co-authors in the same paper (endogenous co-authorship) and another which only considered a co-authorship when a faculty member of some program published a joint paper with a co-author who was not a faculty member of the same program in the period (exogenous co-authorship).

The following hypotheses were formulated:

  • H0: the evolution of the program’s grade does not depend on its faculty co-authorship.

  • H1: the evolution of the program’s grade depends on its faculty co-authorship.

Next we evaluated whether the existed an association between (non-weighted and weighted) SNA metrics and the evolution of the programs’ grades.

The weights of the edges in the co-authorship networks were given by the number of joint works between the pair of authors.

In order to use the Chi-square test, we transformed the SNA metrics into categorical variables. Three classes were established: low centrality (equal to or below the 33.333 percentile); high centrality (equal to or higher than the 66.666 percentile) and medium centrality (when not included in the two previous classes).

To perform the Chi-square test, for each faculty in each period of evaluation, it was verified what was the evolution of the programs to which he belongs and in which category (low, medium or high) its centrality measure was. The following hypotheses were formulated:

  • H0: the evolution of the program’s grade does not depend on the centrality of its permanent faculty.

  • H1: the evolution of the program’s grade depends on the centrality of its permanent faculty.

The chi-square test is based on a hypothesis test that is able to identify the general association between the variables. However, the recognition of particular situations, intersections between categories of variables, is only possible through the residue assessment. Residues are indicators that represent the difference between observed and expected values. When expressed in units of standard deviation they are identified as standardized residues and when they are weighted by the variance they are called adjusted residues.

The adjusted standardized residuals analysis, therefore, is used to complement the chi-square test, and hence indicates whether a particular joint category occurred more or less than what is expected if the variables were independent. Therefore, these values should be compared to the critical points of a standardized curve. When using a 95% confidence level, the existence of positive values greater than 1.96 indicates more occurrences observed than expected, and negative values lower than -1.96 signify the opposite. Hence, the larger the absolute value of the adjusted residue, the greater the association between the categories (Field (201318 FIELD A. 2013. Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. University of Sussex.)).

5 DATA ANALYSIS

We start this section by giving a summary about the programs’ grades in the three evaluation periods. Table 2 shows the distribution of program grades in all three periods. One can see that the median grade remained constant and equal to 4 in all three periods, but the range of grades increased. In Table 3, the distribution of program grade evolution is displayed for all three periods. In all three periods, programs that maintained their grade was the majority, and the number of programs which had a decrease in their grade was substantially higher in the last two periods in relation to the first one.

Table 2
- Distribution of program grades in the three evaluation periods.

Table 3
- Distribution of the evolution of the program grades in the three evaluation periods.

The following subsections present the results of the chi-square test and residue analysis for each one the analysis. The first analysis is about the association of programs’ grades and co-authorship relations of its permanent faculty. Then each subsection addresses the association of an SNA metric, with or without edge weight, with program’s performance. The networks formed by the co-authorship relationship considered the publications in periodicals of the permanent faculty of the PPGEP, through the file obtained by scriptLattes. In the first evaluation period (2007-2009), the network consisted of 1317 nodes, where 336 of these represented permanent faculty in PPGEP. The co-authorship of these faculty was represented by 2187 edges, resulting in a density of 0.0025 and in a clustering coefficient of 0.5489. In the second period (2010-2012), the network consisted of 2036 nodes, where 334 of these represented permanent faculty in PPGEP. The co-authorship of these faculty was represented by 4388 edges, resulting in a density of 0.0022 and in a clustering coefficient of 0.6082. Finally, in the third period (2013-2016), the network consisted of 3078 nodes, where 352 of these represented permanent faculty in PPGEP. The co-authorship of these faculty was represented by 8901 edges, resulting in a density of 0.0019 and in a clustering coefficient of 0.6057.

5.1 Co-authorship Relations

The result of the Pearson chi-square test in Table 4 shows that the program grade performance depends on the publications carried out by the faculty, with or without co-authorship. In other words, we reject H0, at the significance level of 5%. Of the last three evaluation periods, the grade evolution of the triennium 2010-2012 was the one that presented the highest association with co-authorship.

Table 4
- Performance vs. Endogenous Co-authorship - Chi-Square Tests

In Table 5, the triennium 2007-2009 there was no significant association among the classes of the variables. Hence, although the chi-square test identified a relationship of dependence with marginal significance between the variables, the analysis of the residuals did not identify any individual discrepancy between the categories of the variables in relation to the expected values.

Table 5
- Performance vs. Endogenous Co-authorship - Adjusted residual analysis

In the following period there is a strong association between cooperating and the grade rise (5.34 of adjusted residue), as well as a strong association between the grade fell and the non-cooperation of the teaching staff (3.72 adjusted residue). The positive influence of the cooperation between the permanent teachers in the grade performance was also found in the last evaluation period. The residual adjustment of 2.74 indicates a strong association between the grade fell and non-cooperation. Also during this period, programs that did not change the grade were positively influenced by the great participation of collaboration among teachers.

In Table 6, the result of the Pearson chi-square test shows that the grade program performance was influenced by the collaboration between faculty and external collaborators, except in the last evaluated period. Based on the analysis of residue, Table 7 only in the 2010-2012 period, we observed an excess of teachers who established external co-authoring relationships in programs whose grade rose. Therefore, one way to improve or at least maintain a program’s grade is through encouraging academic collaboration.

Table 6
- Performance vs. Exogenous Co-authorship Chi-Square Tests

Table 7
- Performance vs. Exogenous Co-authorship - Adjusted residual analysis

In the following subsections, we investigate the dependence of the evolution of the grade of a program in the last three evaluation periods and some SNA metrics. Dependence is investigated through the use of Pearson chi-square tests and adjusted residual analysis.

5.2 Degree Centrality

Table 8 shows that there was a dependence between the evolution of a program’s grade and the DC category of its permanent faculty in the triennia 2007-2009 and 2010-2012, but not in the quadrennium 2013-2016. To infer how the DC category influenced the programs evolution, we used standardized adjusted residuals. These results are displayed in Table 9.

Table 8
- Performance vs. DC Chi-Square Tests

Table 9
- Performance vs. DC - Adjusted residual analysis

For the triennium 2007-2009, it can be seen that the presence of permanent faculty with high DC is positively associated with an increase in the program’s grade and negatively associated with a no change in the grade. On the other hand, the presence of permanent faculty with low DC is not associated with a decrease in the grade, but it is positively associated with no change in the grade and negatively associated with an increase in the grade. For the triennium 2010-2012, it can be seen that the presence of permanent faculty with high DC is also positively associated with an increase in the program’s grade, but now it is negatively associated with a decrease in the grade. On the other hand, the presence of permanent faculty with low DC is now associated with a decrease in the grade and continuous to be negatively associated with an increase in the grade.

Therefore, in these two periods, programs with more cooperative faculty had a positive inclination in performance. In the final period of evaluation, no dependence was found between the evolution of the program’s grade and DC category of its faculty.

Tables 10 and 11 show the results for similar analysis now considering a weighted network. The chi-square test also shows that only in the first two period of evaluations there exists dependency between evolution of the program’s grade and the WDC category of its faculty.

Table 10
- Performance vs. WDC - Chi-Square Tests

Table 11
- Performance vs. WDC - Adjusted residual analysis

Positive association was observed between high WDC and increase in grade in the first two periods of evaluations and between low WDC and decrease in grade in the last two periods. Moreover, negative association was found between low WDC and increase in grade in the first two periods, between high WDC and no change in grade in period 2007-2009, and between high WDC and decrease in grade in period 2010-2012. It can also be observed that the degree of association increased in the last two periods of evaluation when weights are taken into consideration. The opposite was found in the first period of evaluation. Thus, not only the number of collaborators, but also the frequency of the collaboration turns out to be important in the evolution of the program’s evaluation.

These results indicate that either increasing the number of collaborators or the number of papers with existing collaborators tend to improve a program’s grade.

5.3 Closeness Centrality

Tables 12 and 13 show that, in all periods of evaluations and considering or not the edges’ weights, there exists a dependency between the programs evolution and the (weighted) closeness centrality (CC) category of its permanent faculty. This association was more intense when considering the edges’ weights. The closeness centrality metric is used to measure the independence of faculty and those with high CC have higher chance of establishing new publications partnerships.

Table 12
- Performance vs. CC - Chi-Square Tests

Table 13
- Performance vs. WCC - Chi-Square Tests

In the analysis of residues shown in Tables 14 and 15, we can notice that programs that had a decrease in the grade show a higher number of faculty with low CC and WCC (2010-2012 and 2013-2016). The programs that maintained the grade presented, in the first period, a high number of faculty with low CC and WCC, but in the last period, faculty with high CC and WCC were predominant in these programs. Regarding the programs that had an increase in the grade, it is observed that in the first two periods are constituted mainly by faculty with high CC and WCC, while in the last period we can conclude that these programs do not present a significant number of faculty with low CC and WCC.

Table 14
- Performance vs. CC - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 15
- Performance vs. WCC - Adjusted residual analysis

These results suggest that programs should encourage collaboration of its faculty members, specially establishing new connections with other researchers which are further away in the network to reduce the average distance of the program to all other faculty in the network.

5.4 Harmonic Centrality

As in the case of the closeness centrality, Tables 16 and 17 show that, in all periods of evaluation and considering or not the edges’ weights, there exists a dependency between the evolution of the program’s grade and the category of the (weighted) harmonic centrality (HC) of its permanent faculty. It was also observed that the association was more intense when considering the edges’ weights. Like the closeness centrality, the HC is another metric used to measure the independence of faculty and those with high HC have higher chance of establishing new publications partnerships.

Table 16
- Performance vs. HC - Chi-Square Tests

Table 17
- Performance vs. WHC - Chi-Square Tests

In the analysis of residues shown in Tables 18 and 19, we can notice that programs that had a decrease in the grade show a higher number of faculty with low HC and WHC (2010-2012 and 2013-2016). The programs that maintained the grade presented, in the first period, a high number of faculty with low HC and WHC, but in the last period, faculty with high HC and WHC were predominant. Regarding the programs that had an increase in the grade, it can be observed that in the first two periods, they were constituted mainly by faculty with high HC and WHC, while in the last period, we can conclude that these programs do not present a significant number of faculty with low HC and WHC.

Table 18
- Performance vs. HC - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 19
- Performance vs. WHC - Adjusted residual analysis

As in the case of closeness centrality, the results of harmonic centrality analysis suggest that programs should encourage collaboration of its faculty members, specially establishing new connections with other researchers which are further away in the network to reduce the average distance of the program to all other faculty in the network.

5.5 Betweenness Centrality

Tables 20 and 21 show an association between the (weighted) betweenness centrality (BC) with the evolution of the performance of the programs in the analyzed periods, except in the quadrennium 2013-2016, when the metric is unweighted. Moreover, in all periods of evaluation, when weights are considered the intensity of the association increases. The BC measures the importance of faculty as mediators, who control the flow of information in the network. Therefore, a faculty with a high level of intermediation is an indicative that most of the relationships established in the network are directly or indirectly linked to his publications.

Table 20
- Performance vs. BC - Chi-Square Tests

Table 21
- Performance vs. WBC - Chi-Square Tests

By the analysis of residues shown in Tables 22 and 23, it can be noted that programs with a high number of faculty with high BC and WBC are positively associated with an increase in the programs’ grade in the first two periods of evaluation, is negatively associated with a no change in the grade in the first period of evaluation and is negatively associated with a decrease in programs’ evaluation in the period of 2010-2012. Finally, in the last period, a high number of faculty with high WBC is also negatively associated with a decrease in the programs’ grade.

Table 22
- Performance vs. BC - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 23
- Performance vs. WBC - Adjusted residual analysis

On the other hand, in the first period of evaluation, programs with a high number of faculty with low BC and WBC are positively associated with a no change in the programs’ grade and negatively associated with an increase in the programs’ grade. In the second period of evaluation, a high number of faculty with low BC and WBC is negatively associated with an increase in the programs’ grade while only a high number of faculty with high WBC is positively associated with a no change in the programs’ grade. Finally, in the last period of evaluation, a high number of faculty with a low BC and WBC is positively associated with a decrease in the programs’ grade.

To increase the betweeness centrality of its faculty members and, consequently, increasing a program’s grade, it is necessary to increase the number of short paths that pass through its faculty members. Again, this can be achieved by encouraging collaboration with the faculty which are further away in the network.

5.6 Eigenvector Centrality

In Tables 24 and 25, the chi-square test indicated an association of (weighted) eigenvalue centrality (EC) with the evolution of the programs’ grade, except that the association in the 2007-2009 triennium for the unweighted EC was not significant at the significance level of 0.05. A high value of EC indicates that the faculty has direct collaboration with other influential faculty in the network.

Table 24
- Performance vs. EC - Chi-Square Tests

Table 25
- Performance vs. WEC - Chi-Square Tests

Table 26 shows that programs that had a decrease in the grade are positively associated with having faculty with low EC in the period 2010-2012 and negatively associated with programs having faculty with a high EC in the last two periods of evaluation. Moreover, programs which maintained their grade had a negative association with having faculty with high EC in the period 2007-2009, a positive association with having faculty with low EC in the period 2010-2012 and a positive association with having faculty with high EC in the period 2013-2016. Programs that had an increase in its grade had a positive association with having faculty with high EC in the first two periods of evaluation, but in the last period this association was negative. These results show a change of the evolution of the programs in the last period in what regards the EC of the faculty.

Table 26
- Performance vs. EC - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 27 shows that in all periods a grade decrease is positively associated with having faculty with low WEC. Moreover, a grade increase is negatively associated with having faculty with low WEC in all periods of evaluation.

Table 27
- Performance vs. WEC - Adjusted residual analysis

Although faculty eigenvector centrality influences program performance, this metric does not provide a clear strategy for how programs can improve performance. In the unweighted case, for instance, the concept increase occurred in programs whose faculty members were highly central in the first two periods. However, in the last period, the increase in the concept is associated with a shortage of faculty members with high eigenvector centrality.

In the weighted case, it can be stated that to improve performance the programs should not have significant amounts of faculty members with low eigenvector centrality. In order to increase eigenvector centrality, collaboration with the most central faculty in the network should be encouraged.

5.7 PageRank

For the analysis of the PageRank, a dumping factor of 0.85 was adopted (a dumping factor of 0.7 generated similar results). In Table 28, the chi-square test indicated an association of PageRank (PR) with the evolution of the programs’ grade only in the first two evaluation periods. In Table 29, where the weighted PageRank (WPR) is considered, only in the second period a significant association was found.

Table 28
- Performance vs. PR - Chi-Square Tests

Table 29
- Performance vs. WPR - Chi-Square Tests

In Tables 28 and 29, no significant association was found in the last period of evaluation between evolution of the programs grade and PR or WPR of its faculty. In the triennium 2007-2009, only the unweighted PR showed significant association with the evolution of the programs’ grade. In that period, it was verified a positive association between no change in the programs’ grade and low PR and also between an increase in the programs’ grade and high PR. Still in this first period, a negative association was found between increase in the programs’ grade and low PR.

In the period 2010-2012, it was verified that a grade increase was positively associated with high PR and high WPR and negatively associated with low PR and low WPR. Moreover, a negative association was observed between a grade decrease and high PR. Finally, maintaining the grade was positively associated with low WPR and negatively associated with high WPR.

Table 30
- Performance vs. PR - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 31
- Performance vs. WPR - Adjusted residual analysis

Through PageRank the status or prestige of the faculty members are defined by the prestige of its co-authors. Faculty members prestige, defined by this metric, is not a good indicator for improving program performance because it has behaved erratically over the three periods analyzed, as presented above.

5.8 Utility

Tables 32 and 33 show that an association of the evolution of the program’s grade and the (weighted) utility (UT) occurs only in the first two periods. Moreover, it can be seen that this association is stronger with the unweighted utility.

Table 32
- Performance vs. UT - Chi-Square Tests

Table 33
- Performance vs. WUT - Chi-Square Tests

From the analysis of the residues shown in Tables 34 and 35, it can be verified that in 2007-2009 the programs that remained with the same grade presented a higher number of faculty with low UT and WUT. In that same period, programs that increased their grades had fewer faculty with low UT and WUT. In the following period, it is noticed that a higher number of faculty with high UT and WUT were part of programs that improved their grade. In the last period, no significant association was observed.

Table 34
- Performance vs. UT - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 35
- Performance vs. WUT - Adjusted residual analysis

In analyzing the benefit or utility of faculty members belonging to the network structure studied, we find that only for the first two periods, that the absence of faculty members with low utility or the presence of faculty members with high utility can lead to better program performance. To increase a faculty utility, collaboration with coauthors who are dedicated to fewer other coauthors should be encouraged.

5.9 Local Clustering Coefficient

Analyzing the relationship between the local clustering coefficient and the evolution of the program’s grade we verified, by chi-square test Tables 36 and 37, that the dependence occurred in the first and second triennial for both networks, unweighted and weighted. Being more pronounced in the unweighted case.

Table 36
- Performance vs. CT - Chi-Square Tests

Table 37
- Performance vs. WCT - Chi-Square Tests

In the first period (2007-2009), the analysis of the residuals displayed in Tables 38 and 39 shows that the programs that had an increase in their grade had a higher number of faculty members with medium local clustering coefficient. In the second period (2010-2012), we observed that programs that had a decrease in their grade had a higher number of faculty members with low coefficient of local clustering.

Table 38
- Performance vs. CT - Adjusted residual analysis

Table 39
- Performance vs. WCT - Adjusted residual analysis

The clustering coefficient of a particular author indicates how his collaborators are working together, this measure, however, has not provided any information that helps programs to improve their grades.

5.10 Summary

In order to visualize the effect of the metrics on the performance of the programs by the analysis of the standardized residues, we elaborate graphs for each period, which are displayed in Figures 1 to 6.

Figure 1
- Standardized residues for unweighted SNA metrics for programs according to their grade evolution in the period 2007-2009.

Figure 2
- Standardized residues for unweighted SNA metrics for programs according to their grade evolution in the period 2010-2012.

Figure 3
- Standardized residues for unweighted SNA metrics for programs according to their grade evolution in the period 2013-2016.

Figure 4
- Standardized residues for weighted SNA metrics for programs according to their grade evolution in the period 2007-2009.

Figure 5
- Standardized residues for weighted SNA metrics for programs according to their grade evolution in the period 2010-2012.

Figure 6
- Standardized residues for weighted SNA metrics for programs according to their grade evolution in the period 2013-2016.

In the first two evaluation periods, the programs that increased the grade showed a higher number of faculty members with high centrality measures and a lower number of faculty members with low centrality measures, for most of the weighted and unweighted SNA metrics. In the third period of evaluation, no clear pattern was observed in what regards the standardized residues.

The programs that dropped the grade showed a lower number of faculty members with high centrality measures and a higher number of faculty members with low centrality measures for most of the unweighted metrics in all three periods of evaluations. For weighted metrics, in the first period of evaluation, the standardized residues of the programs that dropped the grade were within the expected values. However, in the following two periods of evaluations, the behavior is similar to the case of the unweighted metrics previously mentioned.

In what regards the programs that maintained their grades, for most unweighted metrics, in all three periods of evaluations, the standardized residues were within the expected values. However, for the weighted metrics, we see that in the first period of evaluation these programs had a lower number of faculty members with high centrality, but in the last period of evaluation these programs showed a higher number of faculty members with high centrality measures. These suggests that the evaluation process of the last period of evaluation seemed to be more severe in comparison to the first period.

To sum up, in most cases it was shown a positive association with higher SNA metrics and program increase in grade and programs with lower SNA metrics and program decrease in grade. As emphasized in the previous sections, to obtain higher centrality measures programs should encourage their faculty to increase their collaboration with existing coauthors, increase academic collaboration, specially with those researchers further away in the network, increase collaboration with highly central nodes and also to establish collaboration with researchers who have fewer connections in the network.

6 CONCLUSIONS

In order to ensure and maintain the quality of the master’s and doctoral programs in Brazil, an evaluation is carried out by the National System of Graduate Programs through ad-hoc consultants and with the participation of the academic community. The evaluation, which took place every three years since 1998, is now carried out every four years since 2015. The system assigns a grade ranging from 1 to 7 following five criteria. The intellectual production is the criterion with greater weight in the definition of the grade. The intellectual production of the program is mainly measured by the journal publications of the permanent faculty of the programs both in terms of quantity and quality.

This work intended to study the co-authorship network of the permanent faculty of graduate programs in Production Engineering in Brazil since 2007. The analysis was divided into three periods corresponding to the evaluation periods. Besides exposing the major characteristics of such networks, an study with chi-square tests was made to investigate the association of SNA metrics of the permanent faculty members with the grades of the programs they participated. The following conclusions were obtained:

  • There exists a relationship between the evolution of the program’s grade and the number of faculty members who had collaboration in their intellectual production. Furthermore, this association was more intense when the relations of co-authorship were established among professors of the same graduate program (endogenous relation). Residue analysis showed that programs that had a decrease in their grade had a higher number of faculty members which do not collaborate. On the other hand, the programs that maintained or increased their grade had a higher number of faculty members who established co-authorship relations.

  • All SNA metrics, studied in this work, presented relationships with the performance of the programs in at least one of the evaluation periods. In most cases, weighted metrics showed stronger associations with the evolution of the program’s grade. Thus, not only the number of co-authors contributes to the evolution of a program’s evaluation, but also the frequency of such collaborations.

  • All programs, in which there was an excess of faculty with high centrality, for any of the metrics studied, weighted or not, had the grade increased or at least maintained. The only exception was for the EC in the period 2013-2016, where a shortage of faculty members with high EC was observed in programs that increased the grade. Nonetheless, faculty members with low centrality were more abundant in programs that had a decrease in their grade.

  • To establish a ranking of the metrics regarding the value of the Pearson chi-square test for those who showed dependence on the evolution of the program’s grade, we highlight the five main ones in each period. In the first period, they were: WCC, WBC, BC, DC and WHC. In the second period, they were: WHC, WEC, EC, WDC and WCC. Finally, in the third period, they were: WCC, WEC, WHC, CC and HC. We can observe the predominance of weighted metrics in this ranking. Moreover, WCC and WHC appeared in the rankings in all three periods.

Therefore, through the above-mentioned conclusions, we can affirm that the establishment of co-authoring among faculty, as well as the centrality of the faculty in the co-authoring network, are useful indicators when assessing graduate programs. Other alternatives and useful indicators were obtained in the work of Silva et al. (201735 SILVA TH, LAENDER AH, DAVIS CA, DA SILVA APC & MORO MM. 2017. A profile analysis of the top Brazilian Computer Science graduate programs. Scientometrics, 113(1): 237-255.), when analyzing Brazilian Computer Science graduate programs. They concluded that the top-ranked graduate programs were formed by more experienced faculty members, who have mentored more Ph.D. students and who tend to publish more in high-quality venues. The co-authorship network analyzed in this study was formed by permanent faculty members of the Production Engineering Graduate Programs and their collaborators. However, other types of co-authorship networks could be constituted for this analysis, the network could be built only by permanent faculty members, for example. In this way, the metrics would take only the endogenous relations. Alternatively, we could obtain the metrics for the exogenous relations. A future work comparing the relations of these two approaches with the performance of the programs could generate more insights.

In this study, we do not distinguish who are the permanent faculty collaborators. For future work, we could categorize collaborators according, for example, whether the collaborator is a native or a foreigner, a student or another researcher. Thus, one could verify if collaboration with different categories would cause different impacts on the performance of the programs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brazil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001. The first author would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE) and the second author would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

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  • 1
    Until 2012, the evaluation occurred in a three-year period. On December 11, 2014, the Higher Council of CAPES decided to change to a four-year evaluation process. The Council also approved a proposal for a mid-term review of a trend analysis of graduate programs.
  • 2
    In December 2018, the Technical-Scientific Council for Higher Education of CAPES, in its 182nd meeting, approved the use of a new Assessment Sheet for the next evaluation, which involves three criteria: Program, Formation and Impact on Society. The weights of each one of the criteria have not been established yet, but scientific production has a significant impact on all criteria.
  • 3
    Lattes is a platform (lattes.cnpq.br), developed by the CNPq in Brazil, for the database integration of curricula of people working in academic or research institutions.
  • 4
    In the very few cases, where a single faculty belonged in the same period to more than one PPGEP, he entered into all the analysis as a separate observation for each program that he belonged to.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    2 Dec 2019
  • Date of issue
    Sep-Dec 2019

History

  • Received
    28 Nov 2018
  • Accepted
    11 Sept 2019
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