Date of Award

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical and Health Informatics

First Advisor

Susan McRoy

Second Advisor

Charles M Welzig

Committee Members

Christine Cheng, Rohit J Kate, Qing Zhang


Benin, Co-authorship networks, Graph Theory, Network analysis, Network Modeling, Scientific collaboration


Despite the international mobilization and increase in research funding, Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are three infectious diseases that have claimed more lives in sub Saharan Africa than any other place in the World. Consortia, research network and research centers both in Africa and around the world team up in a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to boost efforts to curb these diseases. Despite the progress in research, very little is known about the dynamics of research collaboration in the fight of these Infectious Diseases in Africa resulting in a lack of information on the relationship between African research collaborators. This dissertation addresses the problem by documenting, describing and analyzing the scientific collaboration and co-authorship network of Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Benin.

We collected published scientific records from the Web Of Science over the last 20 years (From January 1996 to December 2016). We parsed the records and constructed the coauthorship networks for each disease. Authors in the networks were represented by vertices and an edge was created between any two authors whenever they coauthor a document together. We conducted a descriptive social network analysis of the networks, then used mathematical models to characterize them. We further modeled the complexity of the structure of each network, the interactions between researchers, and built predictive models for the establishment of future collaboration ties. Furthermore, we implemented the models in a shiny-based application for co-authorship network visualization and scientific collaboration link prediction tool which we named AuthorVis.

Our findings suggest that each one of the collaborative research networks of Malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB has a complex structure and the mechanism underlying their formation is not random. All collaboration networks proved vulnerable to structural weaknesses. In the Malaria coauthorship network, we found an overwhelming dominance of regional and international contributors who tend to collaborate among themselves. We also observed a tendency of transnational collaboration to occur via long tenure authors. We also find that TB research in Benin is a low research productivity area. We modeled the structure of each network with an overall performance accuracy of 79.9%, 89.9%, and 93.7% for respectively the malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB coauthorship network.

Our research is relevant for the funding agencies operating and the national control programs of those three diseases in Benin (the National Malaria Control Program, the National AIDS Control Program and the National Tuberculosis Control Program).

Azondekon_R_rev1.pdf (821 kB)
Modeling the Complexity and Dynamics of the Malaria Research Collaboration Network in Benin, West Africa: papers indexed in the Web Of Science (1996-2016)

s41256-018-0067-x.pdf (898 kB)
Scientific authorship and collaboration network analysis on malaria research in Benin: papers indexed in the web of science (1996–2016)

Available for download on Thursday, February 28, 2019