Mapping international collaboration in science in Asia through coauthorship analysis
(Dedicated to Dr Eugene Garfield, scientometricist par excellence, on his 75th birthday)
M Jinandra Doss
We identified papers having more than one country in the address field and calculated for each country its internationalization index, based on the number of international linkages, as suggested by Davidson Frame and Carpenter(Ref. 10):
We calculated the (international) cooperation index and affinity index from papers resulting from collaboration between each one of the 11 countries with many selected countries, following the procedure described earlier.(Ref. 7) We have also classified internationally coauthored papers into major subject categories, based on journal titles, and calculated average expected impact factors for each subject category as well as for the entire collaborated output.
For all countries, international collaboration involving one other country accounts for bulk of the collaboration. That is followed by collaboration involving three countries. Multinational collaboration involving more than three countries is relatively rare, except in the case of Japan. Following Miquel,(Ref. 11) we have made a distinction between the number of collaborative papers and total number of collaborative links. More the number of countries in the byline of papers from a country, the greater will be the number of links.(Ref. 7)
Table 2 lists the number of papers in which the eleven Asian countries have collaborated with about 50 countries, including the G7 countries, the European Union countries, OECD countries, the newly emerging economies of Asia, the Tigers, Israel and selected African and Latin American countries. Please note that in some of these papers there may be collaborators from more than the two countries listed. Except for Malaysia, for every country considered, the United States is the preferred partner for collaborative research. Worldwide, 44% of all internationally coauthored papers published in 1995-97 had at least one US coauthor.(Ref. 4) With a few exceptions, from 25 to 33% of European countries' internationally coauthored papers involved collaboration with the United States. For major science-producing Asian nations, coauthorship with US researchers ranked higher. Japan and India - both nations with relatively low overall rates of international collaboration - shared 46 and 40%, respectively of their internationally coauthored articles with United States researchers. For other Asian nations, collaboration rates with the United States ranged from 70% for Taiwan to 31% for Singapore (Ref.4, p. 6-49).
In general, the 11 Asian countries collaborate often with G7 countries and to some extent with Australia. China has collaborated with Australia in 171 papers, with the Netherlands in 107 papers, with Spain in 98 papers and with Sweden in 81 papers. India has collaborated with Australia in 80 papers, with Switzerland in 76 papers, with Spain in 73 papers and with the Netherlands in 59 papers. Indonesia has collaborated with Australia in 40 papers and with the Netherlands in 26 papers, and Singapore has collaborated with Australia in 63 papers. South Korea has collaborated with Spain in 80 papers, with Switzerland in 69 papers and with Poland in 46 papers. The Asian countries hardly collaborate with countries in Latin America and Africa.
Table 3 lists the cooperation index and affinity index for collaboration between the Asian countries on the one hand and their major collaborating partner countries. China has a much higher cooperation index with G7 countries, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore than India. Japan has a higher cooperation index with other G7 countries than China. Malaysia, which has published only 538 papers, has a cooperation index of over 20 with both Singapore and Thailand, over 14 with the UK and over 10 with India. With the exception of Malaysia, all the countries have a high affinity towards the USA. Malaysia has a higher affinity to the UK.
Although, compared to collaboration among the countries of the European Union (Ref. 7), the level of intra-Asian research collaboration is rather low, it has increased considerably in recent years (Table 4). The main trend in Asia appears to be the development of regional collaborative patterns involving China and the newly industrialized economies. Overall, intraregional collaboration increased from 15% of all Asian foreign collaboration in the late 1980s to 24% a decade later.(Ref. 4) For China, intraregional collaboration rose from 15.8 to 35% of its internationally coauthored papers; and for Singapore from 19.5% to 37%. However, regional collaboration remained relatively low for Japan and India, at about 15% of their internationally coauthored articles in 1995-97 (Ref. 4, p. 6-50).
An interesting observation is that virtually every country considered here collaborates with a larger number of countries now than a few years ago. In 1986-88, India had collaborated with 87 countries, and the number rose to 109 in 1995-97.(Ref. 4) Corresponding figures for other Asian countries are(Ref. 4):
In Table 5 we provide data on the percent of papers resulting from international collaboration and the average expected impact factor of internationally coauthored papers from the 11 countries in journals in seven major fields, viz. physics, chemistry, life sciences, mathematics, engineering, geosciences and multidisciplinary journals. For every country, the average expected impact factor of collaborated papers is higher than the average expected impact factor of all papers as well as the average impact factor of non-collaborated papers (Figure 1). Whereas India, China, and South Korea have collaborated more often in physics, the other eight countries have predominantly collaborated in life sciences. Indeed, life sciences account for more than half of the collaborated papers of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines (Table 5). Incidentally, the United States collaborates largely in the area of clinical medicine, a part of life sciences. India and Korea have roughly the same number of internationally coauthored papers, but there is considerable difference in the distribution of the collaborated papers by subject. Whereas India has collaborated with other countries more often than South Korea in physics, chemistry and geosciences, South Korea has collaborated more often than India in life sciences, mathematics and engineering.
In Table 6 we provide some statistics on the extent and distribution of internationally coauthored papers of South Korea, as well as data on the expected impact of these papers based on impact factors of journals in which the papers were published. Also given in Table 6 are the cooperation index and affinity index for papers resulting from South Korea's collaboration with eight major partner countries. USA dominates international collaboration with South Korea; indeed the number of papers resulting from US-Korea collaboration exceeds the number resulting from Korea's collaboration with the next seven leading collaborating countries! The affinity index for South Korea ? USA is close to 35 and the cooperation index is close to 30. Apart from the G7 countries, China is an important collaborator of South Korea. Invariably, the average expected impact factor of internationally coauthored papers is considerably higher than the average expected impact factor of all South Korean papers. Whereas over 48% of all papers from South Korea have appeared in journals of impact factor less than unity, among internationally coauthored papers only a smaller fraction has appeared in such low-impact journals. Again, of all papers from South Korea less than 12% have appeared in journals of impact factor greater than 3.0, but a much higher share of internationally collaborated papers have appeared in such higher-impact journals. In particular, more than 55% of papers resulting from collaboration between Korean authors on the one hand and Italian or French authors on the other have appeared in journals of impact factor greater than 3.0.
Table 7 gives similar data for internationally collaborated papers of Taiwan. For Taiwan also, China is a leading collaborating nation apart from the G7 nations. International collaboration in Taiwan is also dominated by the USA, which has collaborated with Taiwan in more papers than the next seven leading collaborating countries put together. The affinity index for Taiwan ? USA is close to 38 and the cooperation index is over 19. As with South Korea, here again, the expected average impact factor of internationally coauthored papers is much higher than that of all papers from Taiwan. In particular, the expected average impact of papers written in collaboration with the People's Republic of China is twice that of all papers from Taiwan. Whereas over 45% of all papers from Taiwan have appeared in journals of impact factor less than unity, a much smaller proportion of internationally collaborated papers - as low as 14% in the case of French-Taiwanese collaboration - has appeared in such low-impact journals. Less than 11.5% of all Taiwanese papers have appeared in journals of impact factor greater than 3.0, but a much higher percentage of internationally collaborated papers have appeared in such higher-impact journals. The figures vary from 22.2% for papers with Japan and 24.8% for papers with USA to 83.3% for papers with Italy and 56.9% for papers with France.
For India and China also USA is the number one collaborator, but USA is not as dominating as in the case of South Korea and Taiwan. Also, a very high percent of papers from these two countries, over 55% for India and over 53% for China, have appeared in journals of impact factor less than unity. A very low percent of papers have appeared in journals of impact factor higher than 3.0 - about 7.5% for India and about 6.8% for China. Here again, a much higher percent of internationally collaborated papers have appeared in high-impact journals.7 In the case of Japan the distribution of international collaboration is somewhat less even, with the US share among the top eight collaborators being 49.1% as against less than 40% for India and less than 35% for China.
Table 8 gives data on the distribution of internationally
collaborated papers of South Korea by subject and collaborating country.
South Korea collaborates often in physics (27.4% papers are internationally
collaborated) and chemistry (16.5%) and to a lesser extent in engineering
(20.1%) and clinical medicine (23.8%). Among countries its preferred partners
are USA (more than 60% of collaborations are with the USA) and Japan (20.6%).
The numbers in the top two rows - physics and chemistry - under all countries
and most numbers under USA and Japan are larger than the rest of the numbers
in the matrix.
Similar data are available with us for other Asian countries. Arunachalam has already published such data for India and China.(Ref. 7)