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Reasons for and developments in international scientific collaboration: does an Asia–Pacific research area exist from a bibliometric point of view?

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This paper describes the different forms of and tries to give reasons for international scientific collaboration in general. It focuses on eleven countries in the Asia–Pacific region by evaluating their national research output with the help of bibliometric indicators in particular. Over two million journal articles published by these countries between 1998 and 2007 in ISI-listed periodicals are analyzed. Discipline-specific publication and citation profiles reveal national strengths and weaknesses in the different research domains. The exponential increase in publication output by China over the last few years is astonishing, but in terms of visibility, i.e. citation rates, China cannot keep up with leading science nations, remaining below the world average. A discipline-specific analysis shows that Chinese authors took an active part in more than a quarter of all articles and reviews published in the field of materials science in 2007, while their contribution to medical research is very low. Co-publication networks among the eleven countries are generated to observe the development of cooperation bonds in the region. Applying Salton’s measure of international collaboration strength, an above-average strengthening of scientific collaboration in the Asia–Pacific region can be observed.

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  1. The analyzed countries will be further referred to as AsiaPacific countries.

  2. AUS = Australia, CHN = China, IDN = Indonesia, JPN = Japan, MYS = Malaysia, NZL = New Zealand SGP = Singapore, KOR = South Korea, TWN = Taiwan, THA = Thailand, VNM = Vietnam.

  3. The countries were chosen to represent a mixed sample set in terms of output and location.

  4. Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Ukraine.


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The authors would like to thank the International Bureau of BMBF for commissioning the underlying study. We would also like to thank the Bibliometrics department in the Central Library at Forschungszentrum Jülich for comprehensive technical support and Janet Carter-Sigglow and Hazel Burlet at the Language Services for proofreading this paper.

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Correspondence to Dirk Tunger.

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Haustein, S., Tunger, D., Heinrichs, G. et al. Reasons for and developments in international scientific collaboration: does an Asia–Pacific research area exist from a bibliometric point of view?. Scientometrics 86, 727–746 (2011).

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