May 27, 2022

Research Article: “Follow the Leader: On the Relationship Between Leadership and Scholarly Impact in International Collaborations”

The article linked below was published today by PLOS One.


Follow the Leader: On the Relationship Between Leadership and Scholarly Impact in International Collaborations


Zaida Chinchilla-Rodríguez
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain
Indiana University Bloomington

Cassidy R. Sugimoto
Indiana University Bloomington

Vincent Larivière
Université de Montréal
Université du Québec à Montréal


14(6): e0218309.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218309


National contributions to science are influenced by a number of factors, including economic capacity, national scientific priorities, science policy, and institutional settings and cultures. Nations do not have equal opportunities to access the global scientific market, and therefore, often seek out international partners with complementary resources and expertise. This study aims at investigating national collaboration strategies, with a focus on research leadership—measured through corresponding authorship—and its relationship with scientific impact. Results show that countries with higher R&D investments are more scientifically independent, and confirm that international collaboration is positively related to citation impact. However, leadership in international collaboration is inversely related with a countries’ share of international collaboration and there is a very little relationship between citation impact and international leadership. For instance, most countries—and particularly those that have fewer resources—have higher scientific impact when they are not leading. This suggests that, despite increasing global participation in science, most international collaborations are asymmetrical, and that the research system remains structured around a few dominate nations.

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