This article relies on the analysis of social networks to compare the networks at work in the composition of thesis committees between 2003 and 2008 in a French provincial university in three very different disciplines (astrophysics, archaeology, and economics) so as to test the hypothesis that connections actually existed before graduation. Were members coauthors of scientific publications or were committees constituted only for the sake of awarding a PhD? Astrophysics and its “equipment” ethos is the one that most often superimposes committee membership and copublishing. Archaeology falls somewhere in between, due to the greatest scarcity of committee members. The last of the three, economics, actually separates the two types of collaboration by most frequently inviting international researchers.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes


Marie-Pierre Bès passed away while this manuscript was under review.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.