Why and Wherefore of Increased Scientific Collaboration
NBER Working Paper No. 19819
This paper examines international and domestic collaborations using data from an original survey of corresponding authors and Web of Science data of articles with a US coauthor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology, and Particle and Field Physics. The data allows us to investigate the connections among coauthors and the views of corresponding authors about the collaboration. We have four main findings. First, we find that US collaborations have increased across US cities as well as across international borders, with the nature of collaborations across cities resembling that across countries. Second, face-to-face meetings are important in collaborations: most collaborators first met working in the same institution and communicate often through meetings coauthors from distant location. Third, the main reason for most collaborations are to combine the specialized knowledge and skills of coauthors, with however, substantial differences in the mode of collaborations between small lab-based science and big science, where international collaborations are more prevalent. Fourth, we find that citation rates are higher in international collaborations than in domestic collaborations in biotech but not in the other two fields. Moreover, in all three fields, papers with the same number of coauthors had lower citations if they were international collaborations. Overall, our findings suggest that all collaborations are best viewed from a framework of collaborations across space broadly, rather than in terms of international as opposed to domestic collaborative activity.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19819
Forthcoming: Why and Wherefore of Increased Scientific Collaboration, Richard B. Freeman, Ina Ganguli, Raviv Murciano-Goroff. in The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, Jaffe and Jones. 2014
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