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Research collaboration and research output: A longitudinal study of 65 biomedical scientists in a New Zealand university

  • He, Zi-Lin
  • Geng, Xue-Song
  • Campbell-Hunt, Colin
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    Collaborative research has been increasingly celebrated by the science community, but the hypothesized positive relationship between research collaboration and research output is more assumed than rigorously tested. In this paper, we identify three methodological gaps in the literature: (a) hierarchical coding based on the ISI Web of Science database causes severe loss of information on local collaboration, (b) the relationship between research collaboration and research output is likely to be confounded by a common latent variable such as a scientist's ability, and (c) the lack of longitudinal analysis prevents causal inferences from being made. To address these methodological concerns, we constructed a longitudinal dataset of 65 biomedical scientists at a New Zealand university and coded collaboration variables by hand checking each of their publications in a period of 14 years. We found that at article level, both within-university collaboration and international collaboration are positively related to an article's quality and that, at scientist-year level, only international collaboration is positively related to a scientist's future research output.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 306-317

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:2:p:306-317
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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    1. Cowan, Robin & David, Paul A & Foray, Dominique, 2000. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 211-53, June.
    2. Suma Athreye & John Cantwell, 2005. "Creating Competition? Globalisation and the emergence of new technology producers," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 52, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
    3. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
    4. Katz, J. Sylvan & Martin, Ben R., 1997. "What is research collaboration?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, March.
    5. Bammer, Gabriele, 2008. "Enhancing research collaborations: Three key management challenges," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 875-887, June.
    6. Gonzalez-Brambila, Claudia & Veloso, Francisco M., 2007. "The determinants of research output and impact: A study of Mexican researchers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1035-1051, September.
    7. Meyer, Martin, 2006. "Are patenting scientists the better scholars?: An exploratory comparison of inventor-authors with their non-inventing peers in nano-science and technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1646-1662, December.
    8. Rigby, J. & Edler, J., 2005. "Peering inside research networks: Some observations on the effect of the intensity of collaboration on the variability of research quality," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 784-794, August.
    9. Wagner, Caroline S. & Leydesdorff, Loet, 2005. "Network structure, self-organization, and the growth of international collaboration in science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1608-1618, December.
    10. Cummings, Jonathon N. & Kiesler, Sara, 2007. "Coordination costs and project outcomes in multi-university collaborations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1620-1634, December.
    11. Landry, Rejean & Amara, Nabil, 1998. "The impact of transaction costs on the institutional structuration of collaborative academic research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 901-913, December.
    12. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-38, July.
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