The continuing growth of global cooperation networks in research: A conundrum for national governments

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© 2015 Wagner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Global collaboration continues to grow as a share of all scientific cooperation, measured as coauthorships of peer-reviewed, published papers. The percent of all scientific papers that are internationally coauthored has more than doubled in 20 years, and they account for all the growth in output among the scientifically advanced countries. Emerging countries, particularly China, have increased their participation in global science, in part by doubling their spending on R&D; they are increasingly likely to appear as partners on internationally coauthored scientific papers. Given the growth of connections at the international level, it is helpful to examine the phenomenon as a communications network and to consider the network as a new organization on the world stage that adds to and complements national systems. When examined as interconnections across the globe over two decades, a global network has grown denser but not more clustered, meaning there are many more connections but they are not grouping into exclusive 'cliques'. This suggests that power relationships are not reproducing those of the political system. The network has features an open system, attracting productive scientists to participate in international projects. National governments could gain efficiencies and influence by developing policies and strategies designed to maximize network benefits-a model different from those designed for national systems.




Wagner, C. S., Park, H. W., & Leydesdorff, L. (2015). The continuing growth of global cooperation networks in research: A conundrum for national governments. PLoS ONE, 10(7).

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