May 26, 2022

Research Article: “International Collaboration in Open Access Publications: How Income Shapes International Collaboration”

The article linked to below was published online on February 28, 2020.


International Collaboration in Open Access Publications: How Income Shapes International Collaboration


Michael Cary
West Virginia University

Taylor Rockwell 
University of West Virginia


Publications 2020, 8(1)
DOI: 10.3390/publications8010013


Does the rise of open access journals change the way researchers collaborate? Specifically, since publishing in open access journals requires a publication fee, does income affect how researchers form international collaborations? To answer this question, we create a new data set by scraping bibliographic data from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) journals.

Using the four income group classifications from the World Bank Analytical Classifications, we find that researchers from low-income nations are more likely to form international collaborations than researchers from wealthier nations. This result is verified to be significant using a series of pairwise Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests.

We then study which nations most frequently form international collaborations with other nations and find that the USA, China, Germany, and France are the most preferred nations for forming international collaborations. While most nations prefer to form international collaborations with high-income nations, some exceptions exist, where a nation most often forms international collaborations with a nearby nation that is either an upper-middle-income or lower-middle-income nation. We further this analysis by showing that these results are apparent across the six different research categories established in the Frascati Manual.

Finally, trends in publications in MDPI journals mirror trends seen in all journals, such as the continued increase in the percentage of published papers involving international collaboration.

Direct to Full Text Article
25 pages; PDF. 

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Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.