The global geography of scientific visibility: a deconcentration process (1999–2011)

Abstract

This article aims to ascertain whether the territorial redistribution observed in the geography of scientific production between 1999 and 2008 translated into a redistribution of the geography of citations, and therefore of scientific visibility. Are publications from formerly marginal locations able to influence researchers based in “central locations”, or is their impact mostly “provincial”? Because the distribution of citations is extremely asymmetrical, it could very well be that the geographic de-concentration of production activities did not lead to the geographic de-concentration of citations, but instead contributed to creating increasingly asymmetrical flows of information for the benefit of “central” cities and countries. This article aims to verify whether this is the case by analysing the geographic distribution of citations received, using a method for localising the publications indexed in the Web of Science by urban areas. Results show a growing convergence between the geography of scientific production and that of scientific citations. The number of citations received by the world’s 30 top publishing countries and cities tended to edge closer to the global average. While Singapore, China, India and Iran suffered from a deficit of visibility in 2000, their level considerably improved by 2007. Moreover, a decrease in the discrepancy between cities’ scientific visibility is observed in almost all countries of the world, except for three: Sweden, Egypt and Denmark. To finish, our results show that the gap between the share of citations and the share of publications has decreased across all disciplines. A significant asymmetry in favour of English-speaking countries has remained in the distribution of citations in humanities and social sciences (but it is diminishing).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Adams, J., & Pendlebury, D. (2010). Global research report: United States. Leeds: Evidence.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alderson, A. S., Beckfield, J., & Sprague-Jones, J. (2010). Intercity relations and globalisation: The evolution of the global urban hierarchy, 1981–2007. Urban Studies, 47(9), 1899–1923.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Archambault, É., Vignola-Gagné, É., Côté, G., et al. (2006). Benchmarking scientific output in the social sciences and humanities: The limits of existing databases. Scientometrics, 68(3), 329–342.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Beaverstock, J. V., Doel, M. A., Hubbard, P. J., et al. (2002). Attending to the world: competition, cooperation and connectivity in the World City Network. Global Networks, 2(2), 111–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Derudder, B., Taylor, P., Ni, P., et al. (2010). Pathways of change: Shifting connectivities in the World City Network, 2000–2008. Urban Studies, 47(9), 1861–1877.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Glänzel, W., Debackere, K., & Meyer, M. (2008). ‘Triad’ or ‘tetrad’? On global changes in a dynamic world. Scientometrics, 74(1), 71–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Grossetti, M., Eckert, D., Gingras, Y., et al. (2014). Cities and the geographical deconcentration of scientific activity: A multilevel analysis of publications (1987–2007). Urban Studies, 51(10), 2219–2234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Halffman, W., & Leydesdorff, L. (2010). Is inequality among universities increasing? Gini coefficients and the elusive rise of elite universities. Minerva, 48(1), 55–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Langfeldt, L., Benner, M., Siverstsen, G., et al. (2015). Excellence and growth dynamics: A comparative study of the Matthew effect. Science and Public Policy, 42(5), 661–675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Larivière, V., Gingras, Y., & Archambault, É. (2009). The decline in the concentration of citations, 1900–2007. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(4), 858–862.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Larivière, V., Macaluso, B., Archambault, É., et al. (2010). Which scientific elites? On the concentration of research funds, publications and citations. Research Evaluation, 19(1), 45–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Leydesdorff, L., Wagner, C. S., & Bornmann, L. (2014). The European Union, China, and the United States in the top-1 and top-10% layers of most-frequently cited publications: Competition and collaborations. Journal of Informetrics, 8(3), 606–617.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Louvel, S., & Lange, S. (2010). L’évaluation de la recherche: l’exemple de trois pays européens. Sciences de la société, 79, 11–26.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Lozano, G. A., Larivière, V., & Gingras, Y. (2012). The weakening relationship between the impact factor and papers’ citations in the digital age. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(11), 2140–2145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. MacRoberts, M. H., & MacRoberts, B. R. (1986). Quantitative measures of communication in science: A study of the formal level. Social Studies of Science, 16(1), 151–172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Maisonobe, M., Grossetti, M., Milard, B., et al. (2016). L’évolution mondiale des réseaux de collaborations scientifiques entre villes: des échelles multiples. Revue française de sociologie, 57(3), 415–438.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Matthiessen, C. W., Schwarz, A. W., & Find, S. (2010). World cities of scientific knowledge: Systems, networks and potential dynamics. An analysis based on bibliometric indicators. Urban Studies, 47(9), 1879–1897.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Musselin, C. (2004). Les projets européens: coopération ou élitisme? Societal, Paris: Institut de l’entreprise. Available from: http://www.institut-entreprise.fr/sites/default/files/article_de_revue/docs/documents_internes/societal-44-28-musselin-dossier.pdf. Accessed 10 Nov 2014.

  19. Oba, J. (2015). La réforme de l’Université japonaise entre volonté politique et réalité pratique. Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University, 64, 165–174.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Orozco Pereira, R. A., & Derudder, B. (2010). Determinants of dynamics in the World City Network, 2000–2004. Urban Studies, 47(9), 1949–1967.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Paradeise, C., Reale, E., Bleiklie, I., et al. (Eds.). (2009). University Governance. Western European comparative perspectives (1st ed.). Netherlands: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Shattock, M. (2014). International trends in University Governance: Autonomy self-government and the distribution of authority. Taylor & Francis: International Studies in Higher Education.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Wallace, M. L., Larivière, V., & Gingras, Y. (2009). Modeling a century of citation distributions. Journal of Informetrics, 3(4), 296–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Zitt, M., Barré, R., Sigogneau, A., et al. (1999). Territorial concentration and evolution of science and technology activities in the European Union: A descriptive analysis. Research Policy, 28(5), 545–562.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Zuckerman, H. (1987). Citation analysis and the complex problem of intellectual influence. Scientometrics, 12(5), 329–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marion Maisonobe.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Maisonobe, M., Grossetti, M., Milard, B. et al. The global geography of scientific visibility: a deconcentration process (1999–2011). Scientometrics 113, 479–493 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2463-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Scientific visibility
  • Urban areas
  • Deconcentration process
  • Citation analysis
  • World level