February 27, 2021

Preprint: “World Citation and Collaboration Networks: Uncovering the Role of Geography in Science”


World Citation and Collaboration Networks: Uncovering the Role of Geography in Science


Raj Kumar Pan
Kimmo Kaski
Santo Fortunato


via arXiv


Modern information and communication technologies, especially the Internet, have diminished the role of spatial distances and territorial boundaries. This has enabled scientists for closer collaboration and internationalization. Nevertheless, geography remains an important factor affecting the dynamics of science. Hence, assessing the influence of spatial proximity between scientists is crucial to promote efficient collaboration strategies and, ultimately, to improve the quality of science. Here we present a systematic analysis of citation and collaboration streams between cities and countries. By assigning papers to the geographic locations of their authors’ affiliations, we construct weighted networks of citations and collaborations. The citation flows as well as the collaboration strengths between cities decrease with the distance between them and follow gravity laws with exponents close to 1. Moreover, for a given number of authors, the diversity of affiliations increases the number of citations, especially when many countries are represented. In addition, the total research impact of a country grows linearly with the amount of national funding for research & development. However, the average impact reveals a peculiar threshold effect: the scientific output of a country may reach an impact larger than the world average only if the country invests more than 120,000 US $ per researcher annually. Our results reveal the overall structure of scientific research by showing the correlation between collaboration, citation, geography and funding, and could provide valuable inputs in shaping the future science policies.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.