, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 443-466

Heterogeneity of collaboration and its relationship with research impact in a biomedical field

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Abstract

This paper analyses existing trends in the collaborative structure of the Pharmacology and Pharmacy field in Spain and explores its relationship with research impact. The evolution in terms of size of the research community, the typology of collaborative links (national, international) and the scope of the collaboration (size of links, type of partners) are studied by means of different measures based on co-authorship. Growing heterogeneity of collaboration and impact of research are observed over the years. Average journal impact (MNJS) and citation score (MNCS) normalised to world average tend to grow with the number of authors, the number of institutions and collaboration type. Both national and international collaboration show MNJS values above the country’s average, but only internationally co-authored publications attain citation rates above the world’s average. This holds at country and institutional sector levels, although not all institutional sectors obtain the same benefit from collaboration. Multilateral collaboration with high-level R&D countries yields the highest values of research impact, although the impact of collaboration with low-level R&D countries has been optimised over the years. Although scientific collaboration is frequently based on individual initiative, policy actions are required to promote the more heterogeneous types of collaboration.