International Collaboration in Science in India and its Impact on Institutional Performance

by Aparna Basu and Ritu Aggarwal

National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies
Dr. K.S. Krishnan Marg, PUSA Campus, New Delhi 110012, INDIA


Sociological studies of science have demonstrated that collaboration between scientists has been increasing steadily with time. There are several reasons for this, an important one being the growing complexity of science and the increasing specialization of scientists, which implies that an effective solution to a scientific or technological problem may require a variety of inputs that can only be derived from complementary knowledge and skills of different scientists.

In the same way, international collaboration in science has also increased, facilitated by greater travel and a growing awareness of scientific work in distant regions through articles published in a set of common international journals. The advent of telecommunications and internet will play a radical role in future, forging virtual contacts between people who are geographically separated and leading to collaborative work between scientists and scholars who have never met except on the net. However, there have not been many studies to gauge the extent and effect of international collaboration on the conduct of science in a particular region, either in terms of orientation, productivity or impact.

In our earlier bibliometric analysis of foreign collaboration in scientific publications with at least one author from India, indexed in the Science Citation Index, we had found that there has been an overall increase in collaborative papers as well as collaborating partner countries. While the largest number of papers had been co-authored with scientists from USA and Germany, there was also an increase in collaboration with countries in the Asian region The relative emphasis in Indian collaboration with other countries in different disciplines has been explored using multivariate techniques [1]. Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in the number of international co-authorships with time [2]. We also found that the average Journal Impact Factor (IF) of internationally co-authored papers is significantly higher than for wholly indigenous papers, taking a sample of two years [3].

In the present study we will examine the extent of international collaboration in different institutions in India. In particular, we shall try to assess the impact of international collaboration on institutional performance, both in terms of increase in productivity and in terms of increased impact. We shall also try to delineate the features of co-authored papers that involve collaboration between a large number of countries.


1. Basu, A. , B.S. Vinu Kumar, International Collaboration in Indian Scientific Papers, Scientometrics, to appear
2. Basu, A. et al, Scientific Productivity...where do we stand? , NISTADS REPORT, 1999 and 2000
3. Basu, A. Science Publication Indicators for India: Questions of Interpretation, Scientometrics 44, 1999, 347-360.

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