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The myth of global science collaboration—Collaboration patterns in epistemic communities

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  • Hennemann, Stefan
  • Rybski, Diego
  • Liefner, Ingo

Abstract

Scientific collaboration is often perceived as a joint global process that involves researchers worldwide, regardless of their place of work and residence. Globalization of science, in this respect, implies that collaboration among scientists takes place along the lines of common topics and irrespective of the spatial distances between the collaborators. The networks of collaborators, termed ‘epistemic communities’, should thus have a space-independent structure. This paper shows that such a notion of globalized scientific collaboration is not supported by empirical data. It introduces a novel approach of analyzing distance-dependent probabilities of collaboration. The results of the analysis of six distinct scientific fields reveal that intra-country collaboration is about 10–50 times more likely to occur than international collaboration. Moreover, strong dependencies exist between collaboration activity (measured in co-authorships) and spatial distance when confined to national borders. However, the fact that distance becomes irrelevant once collaboration is taken to the international scale suggests a globalized science system that is strongly influenced by the gravity of local science clusters. The similarity of the probability functions of the six science fields analyzed suggests a universal mode of spatial governance that is independent from the mode of knowledge creation in science.

Suggested Citation

  • Hennemann, Stefan & Rybski, Diego & Liefner, Ingo, 2012. "The myth of global science collaboration—Collaboration patterns in epistemic communities," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 217-225.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:6:y:2012:i:2:p:217-225
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2011.12.002
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    2. Jane M. Russell & Yoscelina Hernández-García & Mina Kleiche-Dray, 2016. "Collaboration dynamics of Mexican research in Chemistry and its relationship with communication patterns," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(1), pages 283-316, October.
    3. repec:spr:scient:v:95:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0819-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Maisonobe, Marion & Eckert, Denis & Grossetti, Michel & Jégou, Laurent & Milard, Béatrice, 2016. "The world network of scientific collaborations between cities: domestic or international dynamics?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 1025-1036.
    5. repec:eee:infome:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:498-510 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bornmann, Lutz & Ozimek, Adam, 2012. "Stata commands for importing bibliometric data and processing author address information," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 505-512.
    7. Tobias Scholl & Antonios Garas & Frank Schweitzer, 2015. "The spatial component of R&D networks," Papers 1509.08291, arXiv.org.
    8. Eisend, Martin & Schmidt, Susanne, 2014. "The influence of knowledge-based resources and business scholars’ internationalization strategies on research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 48-59.
    9. A. Fernández & E. Ferrándiz & M. D. León, 2016. "Proximity dimensions and scientific collaboration among academic institutions in Europe: The closer, the better?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(3), pages 1073-1092, March.
    10. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9512-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Liu , Ju & Liefner , Ingo, 2016. "The Joint Influencing Mechanism of Proximities and Knowledge Base on Multinational Companies’ Global Innovation Networks," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/4, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    12. repec:spr:scient:v:100:y:2014:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1322-7 is not listed on IDEAS

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