Globalization and De-Globalization in Nanotechnology Research: The Role of China
Scientometrics, Vol. 93(2), pp. 439-458, 2012
21 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2015
Date Written: October 15, 2011
The share of nanotechnology publications involving authors from more than one country more than doubled in the 1990s, but then fell again till 2004, before recovering somewhat during the latter years of the decade. Meanwhile, the share of nanotechnology papers involving at least one Chinese author increased substantially over the last two decades. Papers involving Chinese authors are far less likely to be internationally co-authored than papers involving authors from other countries. Nonetheless, this appears to be changing as Chinese nanotechnology research becomes more advanced. An arithmetic decomposition confirms that China’s growing share of such research in large part accounts for the observed stagnation of international collaboration. Thus two aspects of the globalization of science can work in opposing directions: diffusion to initially less scientifically advanced countries can depress international collaboration rates, while at the same time scientific advances in such countries can reverse this trend. This paper draws on Stichweh’s (1996) original paper on international scientific collaboration, which, in examining the interrelated development of national and international scientific networks, predicts a transitional phase during which science becomes a more national enterprise, followed by a phase marked by accelerating international collaboration. Validating the application of this approach, we show that Stichweh’s predictions, based on European scientific communities in the 18th and 19th centuries, seem to apply to the Chinese scientific community in the 21st century.
Keywords: international collaboration, diffusion, interconnectedness, nanotechnology, China, indigenous innovation
JEL Classification: O33, O38, O31
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