BRICS as an association of five major emerging national economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has been expanding its international cooperation, in particular with developing countries. This process sometimes is referred as building of a BRICS Plus association. Science and technology, being a key driver of economic growth, is one of the most important area of socioeconomic development. It becomes increasingly complicated, requires expensive research infrastructure, skilled workforce, and high-tech laboratory equipment, therefore no one individual country in the world can afford a full-scale support to all areas of research and development. That is why collaboration in this area is considered a very promising activity. Following the BRICS Plus concept proposed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2017, this paper presents one of the first attempts to identify key priorities to be addressed by BRICS in establishing and enhancing S&T cooperation with a number of major developing countries, primarily from Global South. Based on a set of criteria for country selection (population, economic potential, R&D sector capacities; research output; etc.), 21 countries are considered in this paper as a BRICS Plus group. A detailed analysis of publication activities of BRICS Plus countries and their international scientific collaboration based on a wide range of bibliometric indicators was applied for the identification of promising thematic areas for research collaboration between BRICS and BRICS Plus countries. A special analysis is presented for 14 science, technology, and innovation areas, which are regarded as common priorities for BRICS countries.
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Free access to this database is available on http://data.uis.unesco.org/Index.aspx?queryid=115.
OECD MSTI database is available here: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=MSTI_PUB.
All serial sources (i.e., journals, book series, and conference series) in Scopus were classified on 313 specific subject categories (“SC”) that are integrated into 27 major subject areas (“SA”) according to Scopus® Classification and All Science Journal Classification Codes (ASJC). See more in https://service.elsevier.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/15181/kw/subject%20categories%20and%20subject%20areas/supporthub/scopus/related/1/.
Terms “revealed comparative advantage” or “Relative Comparative Advantage” was used in e.g. Debackere et al., 1999; Chuang et al., 2010; Kahn, 2011; Tang and Shapira, 2011; Lee et al., 2012; Harzing and Giroud, 2014; Radosevic and Yoruk, 2014; Kutlača, 2016; Wang, 2016. Terms “Index of scientific specialis(-z)ation”/ “Scientific specialis(-z)ation index” were used in e.g.: Mertins, 2003; Kotsemir, 2012; Mangematinæ and Errabi, 2012; Abramo et al., 2014; Acosta et al., 2014; Ionescu, 2015; Kotsemir et al., 2015; Bianchini and Llerena, 2016; Daraio, and Bonaccorsi, 2017. Finally, terms “relative specialis(-z)ation index” or “index of relative specialis(-z)ation” were used in e.g.: Barre, 1987; Debackere and Luwel, 2004; Aksnes et al., 2014; Confraria and Vargas, 2017; Gautam, 2017.
In China, starting from 2009, data on researchers are collected according to the Frascati Manual definition of researcher. Before that, this was only the case for independent research institutions, while for the other sectors’ data were collected according to the UNESCO concept of "scientist and engineer" (see for more details OECD MSTI methodological comments: https://ststs.oecd.org/OECDStat_Metadata/ShowMetadata.ashx?Dataset=MSTI_PUB&Lang=en&Coords=[COU].[CHN]).
In the Russian Federation, headcount data include full-time personnel only, and hence are underestimated, while data in FTE are calculated on the basis of both full-time and part-time personnel. This explains why the FTE data are greater than the headcount data. See for more details OECD MSTI methodological comments: https://stats.oecd.org/OECDStat_Metadata/ShowMetadata.ashx?Dataset=MSTI_PUB&Lang=en&Coords=[COU].[RUS]).
All calculations are based on the Scopus data. Types of publications include articles, reviews, and conference papers.
In all calculations, data are given for Mainland China, not taking into account data for Macao and Hong Kong (Macao and Hong Kong stay in Scopus as separate countries).
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The article was prepared in the framework of a research grant funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (grant ID: 075-15-2020-928).
Annex note AN. 1. Abbreviations of Countries and Thematic Areas Used in the Current Paper
Throughout the whole paper we use abbreviations of countries, Scopus subject areas, and priority areas as follows.
BRICS and BRICS Plus countries are abbreviated as follows: BRA: Brazil; RUS: Russian Federation; IND: India; CHI: China; SAR: South Africa; ALG: Algeria; ARG: Argentina; BAN: Bangladesh; CHL: Chile; COL: Colombia; EGY: Egypt; ETH: Ethiopia; IDN: Indonesia; IRN: Iran; KEN: Kenya; MAL: Malaysia; MEX: Mexico; MRC: Morocco; NIG: Nigeria; PAK: Pakistan; SAU: Saudi Arabia; THA: Thailand; TUN: Tunisia; TUR: Turkey; UAE: United Arab Emirates; VTN: Vietnam.
The 27 Scopus subject areas are abbreviated as follows: AGRI–Agricultural and Biological Sciences; ARTS–Arts and Humanities; BIOC–Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; BUSI–Business, Management and Accounting; CENG–Chemical Engineering; CHEM–Chemistry; COMP–Computer Science; DECI–Decision Sciences; DENT–Dentistry; EART–Earth and Planetary Sciences; ECON–Economics, Econometrics and Finance; ENER–Energy; ENGI–Engineering; ENVI–Environmental Science; HEAL–Health Professions; IMMU–Immunology and Microbiology; MATE–Materials Science; MATH–Mathematics; MEDI–Medicine; MULT–Multidisciplinary; NEUR–Neuroscience; NURS–Nursing; PHAR–Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics; PHYS–Physics and Astronomy; PSYC–Psychology; SOCI–Social Sciences; VETE–Veterinary.
Priority areas are abbreviated as follows ICT–Information and communication technologies; Nano&Mat–Nanotechnology and new materials; AdvManuf–Advanced manufacturing and robotics; Space–Space systems and astronomical observations; Transp–Transport systems; EnEff–Energy efficiency and energy saving; NuclEn–Nuclear energy; RenewEn–Renewable energy resources; Mining–Search, exploration, development and mining of minerals; Clim&Envi–Climate change, environmental protection and disaster management; WaterRes–Water resources; FoodSec–Food security and sustainable agriculture; Heal&Med–Healthcare and medicine; Biotech–Biotechnology. See Figs. 15 and 16 and Table 8.
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Sokolov, A., Shashnov, S. & Kotsemir, M. From BRICS to BRICS plus: selecting promising areas of S&T Cooperation with developing countries. Scientometrics (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-04142-3
- BRICS plus
- Research collaboration
- Bibliometric analysis
- Relative comparative advantages index
- R&D indicators