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Scientific collaboration in Brazilian researches: a comparative study in the information science, mathematics and dentistry fields

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This study attempts to describe, in a comparative way, scientific collaboration and co-authoring activities and understanding of Brazilian researchers of productivity level 1 at the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq). In order to do so, a questionnaire was sent to the researchers of productivity level 1 at CNPq in the Mathematics, Dentistry and Information Science fields, with questions about scientific collaboration and co-authoring activities. We analyzed the scientific production of the researchers who answered the questionnaire and we have identified that 78% of the participants consider that scientific collaboration and co-authorship are different activities, and the potential and usual number of research collaborators is between 2 and 3 in Mathematics and Information Science, and between 5 and 6 collaborators in Dentistry. Differences among fields were pointed out by identifying main collaborators and co-authors. The reasons for collaborating vary according to the nature of the research, however, the percentages are high in these three areas: “training of researchers and students”, “desire to increase their own experience through the experience of others” and “increased productivity.” From the analysis of the scientific production declared in their Lattes Curriculum, we have found that the average number of authors per publication in the field of Information Science is 2.2 authors, in Mathematics is 2.8 authors per publication, and in Dentistry the average is 5.3 authors per publication. We have concluded that scientific collaboration and co-authorship are terms assigned to different activities for the analyzed fields.

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    We see the social environment as the whole context involving the scientific environment. For instance: Brazil is a social environment of this research, which aims at analyzing three fields of the Brazilian science. Therefore, the context involving the fields—Social and Scientific Policies, Economy and location are the same.

  2. 2.

    Lattes Curriculum is a virtual platform developed by CNPq which integrates a database of researcher curriculums, institutions, and Brazilian research groups in the same information system. We estimate that all researchers linked at public research institutions in Brazil own a Lattes Curriculum, where their main technical and scientific productions are recorded. The platform can be accessed at this address: <lattes.cnpq.br/>.

  3. 3.

    Original reference: W.O. Hagstrom. The Scientific Community. Basic Books, New York, 1995.


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This work was supported by the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq) and by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Level -or Education- Personnel (CAPES). We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions which allowed us to greatly improve the content of our paper.

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Correspondence to Carla Mara Hilário.

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Hilário, C.M., Grácio, M.C.C. Scientific collaboration in Brazilian researches: a comparative study in the information science, mathematics and dentistry fields. Scientometrics 113, 929–950 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2498-4

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  • Scientific collaboration
  • Research collaboration
  • Co-authorship
  • Collaboration in science
  • Self-organization in science