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Growth of international collaboration in science: revisiting six specialties

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Data: Web of Science

Fig. 2

Data: Scopus

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Acknowledgements

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.

Author information

Correspondence to Caroline S. Wagner.

Appendix 1 List of Journals found to be most central to the specialty, examined for four different years, 1990, 2000, 2008, 2013

Appendix 1 List of Journals found to be most central to the specialty, examined for four different years, 1990, 2000, 2008, 2013

Astrophysics Journals

Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Astrophysical Letters and Communications

Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Astronomical Journal

Astronomy Letters-A Journal of Astronomy and Space

Astrophysics

Astronomy Reports

Astrophysical Journal

Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series

Astrophysics and Space Science

Publications of The Astronomical Society of Japan

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Publications of The Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Solar Physics

Mathematical Logic

Mathematical Logic Quarterly

History and Philosophy of Logic

Bulletin of Symbolic Logic

Archive for Mathematical Logic

Annals of Pure and Applied Logic

Polymer Science

Progress in Polymer Science

Polymer Bulletin

Macromolecular Symposia

Macromolecules

Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics

Journal of Polymer Science Part A-Polymer Chemistry

Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics

Journal of Macromolecular Science-Pure and Applied Chemistry

European Polymer Journal

Biopolymers/Pva Hydrogels/Anionic Polymerisation Nanocomposites

Seismology

Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

Bulletin of The Seismological Society of America

Journal of Seismology

Physics of The Earth and Planetary interiors

Earth Planets and Space

Geophysical Journal international

Geophysical Research Letters

Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth

Tectonophysics

Soil Science

Advances in Agronomy

Australian Journal of Soil Research

Canadian Journal of Soil Science

Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis

European Journal of Soil Science

Forest Ecology and Management

Geoderma

Soil Science Society of America Journal

Soil Science

Soil and Tillage Research

Virology

Advances in Virus Research

Virology

Advances in Virus Research

Archives of Virology

Journal of General Virology

Journal of Medical Virology

Journal of Virology

Journal of Virological Methods

Virus Genes

Virus Research

Journal of Virology

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Wagner, C.S., Whetsell, T.A. & Leydesdorff, L. Growth of international collaboration in science: revisiting six specialties. Scientometrics 110, 1633–1652 (2017) doi:10.1007/s11192-016-2230-9

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Keywords

  • Network structure
  • Science
  • Organization
  • Hierarchy
  • Nation
  • Governance