Scientific collaboration between EU and Economies in Transition:
A bibliometric trend analysis of the nineties

by Hans-Jürgen Czerwon
Bruno-Apitz-Str. 1, D-13125 Berlin, F.R. Germany


There are no longer political or other formal barriers for Central and East European Countries (CEEC) to co-operate with western countries. As a consequence publication activity of most Economies in Transition (EIT), as registered in the Science Citation Index (SCI), and also co-authorships with Western scientists have increased considerably since 1990 (e.g. /1-5/). In the present follow-up study we have analysed both the publication performance of European EIT countries and their co-authorship patterns with EU on the whole and with selected EU member states for the period 1990-1999. Four country groups were analysed in more detail:

  1. Six Central and South East European Countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria)
  2. Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)
  3. Four European CIS (Commonwealth of the Independent States) Countries (USSR/Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova)
  4. Former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Slovenia, F.R. Yugoslavia).

Papers recorded in the 1990-1999 volumes of the SCI (edited by the Institute for Scientific Information, ISI, Philadelphia, PA, USA) in the narrower sense as 'citable publications' (articles, letters, notes, reviews) were taken into consideration. The so-called full-counting scheme was used in counting publications of countries or regions, i.e., a full count was recorded whenever a corporate address from a country occurred in the address field of the publication.
The main findings of our study are the following:

There are significantly different tendencies concerning the collaboration patterns in the countries under consideration. At the close of the last decade countries in groups 1 and 2 published nearly 30-40% of all papers indexed in the SCI in collaboration with scientists from the 15 EU countries. In contrast, this share lay at only 15-30% in the four European CIS countries and the former Yugoslavian states. A group of advanced countries in which the institutional transformation of S&T systems have made considerable progress (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Slovenia) is characterised by a continuous increase of publication output in the nineties and intensive collaboration with EU members. (Germany is in most cases the main partner of these countries.)

Since the mid-1990s the number of publications in international core journals has dropped again in the four European CIS countries or has stagnated in Bulgaria and Slovakia - while at the same time the number of publications co-authored together with scientists from EU countries has continued to rise: This can be considered an indication of the fact that the lack of domestic resources for R&D in these countries has already begun to have an impact on their scientific output.
Moreover, the collaboration patterns of the Baltic states as well as Croatia, Slovenia, Moldova and other small-sized countries reflect the fact that the smaller the size of a country's scientific and technical community the more likely it is that researchers will find less potential collaborators within their country and therefore will have to look overseas for research partners.

The quantitative results of the study clearly show the ever growing importance of the EU as scientific collaboration partner of EIT countries, especially of potential future EU members. A comparison of collaboration patterns between EIT countries and EU on the one hand and EIT countries and USA and Japan on the other hand was made.


1. W. GLÄNZEL, A. SCHUBERT, H.-J. CZERWON: A bibliometric analysis of international scientific cooperation of the European Union (1985-1995), Scientometrics, 45(1999)185-202.
2. Second European Report on S&T Indicators, 1997- Report (EUR 17639), Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1997 - XXIII, 729 pp.
3. H.-J. CZERWON, International scientific cooperation of EIT countries: a bibliometric study, unpublished paper, Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, 1998 (cf. also W. MESKE, Institutional transformation of S&T systems in the European Economies in Transition: Comparative analysis, WZB-Paper P 98-403, 1998, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung).
4. J. KRISTAPSONS, K. GEDINA, H. MARTINSON, Introducing the East into international scientific networks, In: W. MESKE, J. MOSONI-FRIED, H. ETZKOWITZ, G.A. NESVETAILOV (eds): Transforming Science and Technology Systems - The Endless Transition? Amsterdam, Berlin, Oxford, Tokyo, Washington, D.C.: IOS Press/Ohmsha, 1998 (NATO Science Series 4: Science and Technology Policy - Vol. 23) pp. 295-305.
5. B. STEFANIAK, International cooperation of Polish researchers with partners from abroad: a scientometric study, Scientometrics, 41(1998)155-167.

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