, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 455–476 | Cite as

The rise in co-authorship in the social sciences (1980–2013)

  • Dorte Henriksen


This article examines the rise in co-authorship in the Social Sciences over a 34-year period. It investigates the development in co-authorship in different research fields and discusses how the methodological differences in these research fields together with changes in academia affect the tendency to co-author articles. The study is based on bibliographic data about 4.5 million peer review articles published in the period 1980–2013 and indexed in the 56 subject categories of the Web of Science’s Social Science Citation Index. The results show a rise in the average number of authors, share of co-authored and international co-authored articles in the majority of the subject categories. However, the results also show that there are great disciplinary differences to the extent of the rises in co-authorship. The subject categories with a great share of international co-authored articles have generally experienced an increase in co-authorship, but increasing international collaboration is not the only factor influencing the rise in co-authorship. Hence, the most substantial rises have occurred in subject categories, where the research often is based on the use of experiments, large data set, statistical methods and/or team-production models.


Co-authorship Social sciences Research collaboration Bibliometrics 



I would like to thank my supervisor Jesper Schneider for comments and subtracting data from the CWTS database.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Department of Political Science, Business and Social SciencesAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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