Scientific papers with authors from multiple countries increased by 16% in top natural science journals between 2012 and 2015, according to data from the Nature Index.
The index measures the share of authorship of institutions and countries to scientific papers published in 68 top-tier journals. Figures show that multi-country papers in the index increased from 21,460 in 2012 to 24,951 in 2015.
Growth in international collaborations differed among research fields. The change was most pronounced in life sciences research. In 2012, half of all life science papers had authors from multiple countries. By 2015, the proportion of multi-country life science papers had grown by 21%, meaning almost three-quarters of papers involved an international collaboration.
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According to the Nature Index, collaboration between British and EU scientists increased over the four years prior to the UK’s Brexit vote.
The index’s data show that, on average, cross-channel partnerships were producing 26% more high-quality research in 2015 than in 2012, with the average collaboration score, as calculated by the Nature Index, increasing from 120 to 152. In contrast, the score for UK collaborations with the rest of the world has remained between 40 and 50 since 2012.
These findings are featured in the Nature Index 2016 Collaborations supplement, which highlights some of the most fruitful research partnerships between countries or institutions by measuring each partner’s contribution to collaborative papers in the 68 high-quality journals selected for inclusion in the index. It uses data from the Nature Index, which tracks the high-quality research of more than 8,000 global institutions.
The supplement reveals that 700 UK institutions collaborated with EU institutions in 2015 to publish papers in the high-quality journals in the index, up from 651 in 2012. Overall, the UK’s strongest ties in the EU were with Germany, followed by France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
The French National Centre for Scientific Research has the highest overall average collaboration score, followed by Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is sixth. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) lead the global tables for the most productive collaboration between any two institutions worldwide. At a national level, the partnerships between the United States’ and China’s institutions produce more high-quality research than any other.
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