Joint US-UK research cited more often

RICE (US) — Collaborating with international scientists results in greater recognition for U.S. researchers who produce work with more impact that is cited by peers more often.

For the first-of-its-kind study, researchers analyzed data in the biosciences area—specifically papers on stem cell research—published in 2008 by scientists from the U.S. and U.K. to see if they gained anything from collaborating with peers in other countries.

“What we found was striking and significant,” says Kirstin Matthews, a fellow in science and technology policy at Rice University.

“When U.S. stem cell researchers engage and use expertise from their international peers, they receive more citations for their work in others’ work.”

The study is published online in PLos One.

U.S.-independent articles averaged 15.0 citations, while international publications listing a U.S. scientist as the corresponding author averaged 20.3 citations. A similar trend was seen with U.K.-independent publications (10.1) compared with international publications (13.8).

While the citation rate was slightly increased for international papers on which a U.S. scientist was a secondary author, the difference was not found to be statistically significant, indicating that it is not as beneficial for U.S. authors to be secondary contributors.

“These figures suggest that scientists in both the U.K. and U.S. produce higher-impact stem cell research when collaborating with foreign counterparts,” Matthews says.

“But U.S. scientists find a more dramatic increase in citation rates when they are corresponding authors.”

A literature search of 2008 publications on stem cells generated 3,176 articles that listed at least one U.S. scientist as an author and a total of 616 papers that listed at least one U.K. scientist as an author.

While U.S. researchers published more than five times more often than U.K. researchers in absolute numbers, the publication rates per million inhabitants were very similar—10.2 articles per million individuals for the U.S. and 10.0 articles per million individuals for the U.K.

Overall the U.K. collaborates the most with U.S. researchers. For the U.S. the top three collaborators were Germany, Japan and the U.K.

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