Globalisation of science in kilometres

Publication year: 2011
Source: Journal of Informetrics, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 12 June 2011

Ludo, Waltman , Robert J.W., Tijssen , Nees Jan van, Eck

The ongoing globalisation of science has undisputedly a major impact on how and where scientific research is being conducted nowadays. Yet, the big picture remains blurred. It is largely unknown where this process is heading, and at which rate. Which countries are leading or lagging? Many of its key features are difficult if not impossible to capture in measurements and comparative statistics. Our empirical study measures the extent and growth of scientific globalisation in terms of physical distances between co-authoring researchers. Our analysis, drawing on 21 million research publications across all countries and fields of science, reveals that contemporary science…

 Highlights: ► We determine geographical coordinates of almost all addresses in Web of Science. ► We calculate physical distances between co-authoring researchers. ► Distances between co-authors have increased almost fivefold between 1980 and 2009. ► Significant differences exist across countries and fields of science. ► The science system is rapidly becoming more globalised.