Growth of international collaboration in science: revisiting six specialties
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International collaboration in science continues to grow at a remarkable rate, but little agreement exists about dynamics of growth and organization at the discipline level. Some suggest that disciplines differ in their collaborative tendencies, reflecting their epistemic culture. This study examines collaborative patterns in six previously studied specialties to add new data and analyze patterns over time. Our findings show that a global network of collaboration continues to add new nations and new participants; since 1990, each specialty has added many new nations to lists of collaborating partners. We also find that the scope of international collaboration is positively related to impact. Network characteristics for the six specialties are notable in that instead of reflecting underlying culture, they tend towards convergence at the global level. This observation suggests that the global level may represent next-order dynamics that feed back to the national and local levels (as subsystems) in a complex, networked hierarchy.
KeywordsNetwork structure Science Organization Hierarchy Nation Governance
We wish to thank Jeroen Bass at Elsevier for assistance in developing the data for the global level and for the specialties for 2008 and 2013. We thank Meng Li for assistance with statistical analysis.
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