Historical Evolution of Global Scientific Collaboration: The Case of International Co-Authorship Network

Authors: Sergey Shulgin; Zinkina, Julia; Eugenia Butova
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 17, Number 2 / September 2018

DOI: https://doi.org//10.30884/seh/2018.02.10

The paper focuses on the patterns of evolution of the structure of global scientific collaboration over the most recent historical period. Among the multiple approaches to measuring such collaboration we choose to investigate the evolution of the international co-authorship network over a 25-year-long period (from 1991 to 2016). We build a series of networks of main international co-authorship partners using the data obtained from Scopus Elsevier database. Our analysis reveals two markedly different patterns of the network evolution. At the general level, it has been increasingly turning into a ‘hub-and-spoke’ network where one central hub, the USA, clearly dominates nearly the whole of the network. However, if the impact of the USA is not taken into account, we discover a second level of the network structure with remarkably different patterns – instead of one single hub, there exist a number of centers with their respective clusters, and this structure has not been gravitating towards becoming more concentrated. If anything, its evolution has taken quite the opposite path, with a number of new centers emerging recently with their respective clusters of countries.