ArM5 Analyzed!

We recently received an email from Ars Magica contributor Mark Shirley, analyzing the social network among our ArM5 writers, and thought the result might interest our fans.

Mark explains:

"Part of my work is to do with how social networks operate (in my case, to spread disease), but a common application of this field is to look at the links between authors through their collaborations on academic papers. I have all the tools at my fingertips, so I thought I'd have a look at the ArM world. I've collated all the current corpus of Ars Magica - both published and in progress - and created a social network. The attached picture is the result.

"For clarity, the network excludes those authors who have (so far) only been involved in a single work (principally Covenants vis sources and the Open Call) - things get too cluttered otherwise. This brings the authors down from 39 to 16. Each line between a pair of authors indicates one or more collaborations. The proximity of two authors in the main plot represents the number of collaborations; individuals who commonly collaborate will be close together (the maximum is 9 collaborations, between Timothy Ferguson and myself, and Timothy is the most prolific, with 13 titles to his name). There is clearly a big effect of multi-author books such as LatL and RoP:MR; given the prominence of Sheila Thomas, Paul Tevis, and Andrew Smith in the network when these three have low numbers of titles to their names.

"Anyway, just thought this might be of interest. I haven't done any rigorous analysis, such as seeing how many / which authors need to disappear to cause the network to collapse; I imagine that a car-wreck at the Grand Tribunal 2007 (Cheltenham) could have been pretty injurious, taking out 3 of the most prolific in one shot!"

Thanks, Mark!


  1. Thanks Mark.
    I don't really understand this, but it looks like Neil (Taylor) is farther out there (from the center) than CJ (Romer). Having had the pleasure to stay with both gentlemen, I can assure you that CJ is "farther out there" than any of us!

    The harem has become way too familiar. :D


  2. So Mark studies how diseases spread... looking at the diagram, it seems to me that if Timothy sneezes, then the whole ArM5 writers' corps will catch cold. :-)