Why and Wherefore of Increased Scientific Collaboration

42 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2014 Last revised: 26 Feb 2021

See all articles by Richard B. Freeman

Richard B. Freeman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Studies; Harvard University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Ina Ganguli

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Center for International Development

Raviv Murciano-Goroff

Boston University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

This paper examines international and domestic collaborations using data from an original survey of corresponding authors and Web of Science data of articles that had at least one US coauthor in the fields of Particle and Field Physics, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology. The data allow 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 with coauthors from distant locations. Third, the main reason for most collaborations is to combine the specialized knowledge and skills of coauthors, but there are substantial differences in the mode of collaborations between small lab-based science and big science, where international collaborations are more prevalent. Fourth, for biotech, we find that citations to international papers are higher compared to papers with domestic collaborators only, but not for 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.

Suggested Citation

Freeman, Richard B. and Ganguli, Ina and Murciano-Goroff, Raviv, Why and Wherefore of Increased Scientific Collaboration (January 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19819, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2381014

Richard B. Freeman (Contact Author)

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Ina Ganguli

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

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Raviv Murciano-Goroff

Boston University ( email )

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