Unbalanced international collaboration affects adversely the usefulness of countries’ scientific output as well as their technological and social impact

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Abstract

© 2016, The Author(s). The unbalanced international scientific collaboration as cause of misleading information on the country’s contribution to the scientific world output was analyzed. ESI Data Base (Thomson Reuters’ InCites), covering the scientific production of 217 active countries in the period 2010–2014 was used. International collaboration implicates in a high percentage (33.1 %) of double-counted world articles, thus impacting qualitative data as citations, impact and impact relative to word. The countries were divided into three groups, according to their individual contribution to the world publications: Group I (24 countries, at least 1 %) representing 83.9 % of the total double-counted world articles. Group II (40 countries, 0.1–0.99 % each). Group III, 153 countries (70.5 %) with < 0.1 % and altogether 1.9 % of the world. Qualitative characteristics of each group were also analyzed: percentage of the country’s GNP applied in R & D, proportion of Scientists and Engineers per million inhabitants and Human Development Index. Average international collaboration were: Group I, 43.0 %; Group II, 55.8 % and Group III, 85.2 %. We concluded that very high and unbalanced international collaboration, as presented by many countries, misrepresent the importance of their scientific production, technological and social outputs. Furthermore, it jeopardizes qualitative outputs of the countries themselves, artificially increasing their scientific impact, affecting all fields and therefore, the whole world. The data confirm that when dealing with the qualitative contribution of countries, it is necessary to take in consideration the level of international cooperation because, as seen here, it can and in fact it does create false impression of the real contribution of countries.

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Zanotto, S. R., Haeffner, C., & Guimarães, J. A. (2016). Unbalanced international collaboration affects adversely the usefulness of countries’ scientific output as well as their technological and social impact. Scientometrics, 109(3), 1789–1814. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-016-2126-8

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