Identity and publication in non-university settings: academic co-authorship and collaboration

Abstract

Increased collaboration between researchers working in university, industry, and governmental settings is changing the landscape of academic science. Traditional models of the interaction between these sectors, such as the triple helix concept, draw clear distinctions between academic and non-academic settings and actors. This study surveyed scientists (n = 469) working outside of university settings who published articles indexed in the Web of Science about their modes of collaboration, perceptions about publishing, workplace characteristics, and information sources. We study the association between these variables, and use text analysis to examine the roles, duties, sites, topics, and workplace missions among non-university based authors. Our analysis shows that 72% of authors working in non-university settings who collaborate and publish with other scientists self-identify as academics. Furthermore, their work life resembles that of those working in university settings in that the majority report doing fundamental research in government research organizations and laboratories. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, this research suggests that peer-reviewed publications are much more dominated by non-university academics than we previously thought and that collaboration as co-authors on academic publications is not likely to be a primary conduit for the transfer of scientific knowledge between academe and industry.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a National Science Foundation grant from the Science of Science Policy program award number 0738116.

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Correspondence to Therese Kennelly Okraku.

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Okraku, T.K., Vacca, R., Jawitz, J.W. et al. Identity and publication in non-university settings: academic co-authorship and collaboration. Scientometrics 111, 401–416 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2280-7

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Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Academia
  • Publishing
  • Knowledge transfer